Legalize pot and reap benefit from influx of toking tourists: Liberals

28 Jan
A man smokes a marijuana cigarette in an Amsterdam cafe in the Netherlands.

Christopher Furlong/Getty ImagesA man smokes a marijuana cigarette in an Amsterdam cafe in the Netherlands.
    Probably the only thing we’ll agree on.

Recommendations for legalizing weed

The study proposes legalizing weed for what it estimates to be roughly three million users in Canada. Among the recommendations:

The regulatory regime should be established by the federal government, in close cooperation with the provinces. A federal-provincial revenue-sharing agreement will be based on models established for alcohol and tobacco.

The legal age would be the same as it is for alcohol in each province, and people would be allowed to grow their own pot as long as it was in small quantities for personal use.

In order to combat black-market sales, people will be limited to buying or possessing no more than four ounces, or a little over 0.1 kilogram.

Citing statistics from a number of studies, including RAND Corporation and the Fraser Institute, it says Canada’s market is about $3-$4 billion annually to a market of roughly three million consumers.

The private sector would take the lead in producing and marketing pot, and would have to find a way to produce top-quality pot but sell it at a price well below the current black market rate, despite a recommended 35% tax rate.

Penalties and law enforcement measures should be toughened up to prevent exports and sales to minors.

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.

Legalize pot and reap benefit from influx of toking tourists: Liberals | Canadian Politics | Canada | News | National Post.


Posted by on January 28, 2013 in Canada


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2 responses to “Legalize pot and reap benefit from influx of toking tourists: Liberals

  1. weedthetruth

    January 29, 2013 at 10:54 am

    Good luck with it Canada, I really hope someone really steps up and leads the way. Canada, Amsterdam and the USA have started and continued the process, we just need more.


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