Canada’s economy could benefit from an influx of toking tourists if weed is legalized, the Liberal Party of Canada says in a new analysis that backs the party’s 2012 policy convention resolution.
And Canada’s health-care system and law-enforcement agencies would gain from billions in new tax revenues — money now going to organized crime — as a result of domestic sales of high-quality, low-priced and government-regulated Canadian weed, according to the 38-page paper.
It was prepared by a party committee in response to the overwhelming vote a year ago in Ottawa by party members in favour of legalizing, regulating and taxing marijuana sales.
One of the paper’s co-authors, citing evidence from countries with liberal pot laws, said tokers from the United States and elsewhere will be drawn to Canada if they can enjoy a hassle-free high.
And B.C.’s reputation will make it a particularly attractive destination, said Sangeeta Lalli. “We’re known around the world for having good cannabis.”
The paper, while citing various concerns ranging from health issues to expected opposition from the U.S. government, presents an overwhelmingly positive scenario.
“Thousands of Canadians will … find direct and indirect employment,” the paper says, citing work in agriculture, an estimated 2,700 specialty retail stores, manufacturing and distribution outlets, inspection and quality control, health research, legal and accounting services, marketing and tourism.
Pot tourism is viewed as an important, though controversial, economic engine in some jurisdictions with liberal legal regimes. It has been estimated that up to a third of Amsterdam’s seven million annual tourists enjoy lighting up at one of the city’s ubiquitous cannabis cafes.
The Dutch government, concerned about criminals and other unsavory characters from countries such as Belgium and Germany showing up in border cities, announced earlier this year a “weed pass” that would allow only Dutch nationals, but not visitors, to smoke up in a cafe.
But resistance from Amsterdam merchants concerned about a tourism drop-off resulted in the government backing down last month on strict enforcement of the law.
The authors object to the option of decriminalization of possession, something advocated by presumed leadership front-runner Justin Trudeau, since that would still leave production and distribution in the hands of organized-crime gangs.