Pubdate: Thu, 05 Feb 2009
Source: Coquitlam Now, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2009Lower Mainland Publishing Group, Inc.
Author: Matthew Bajakian


To The Editor:

The federal government could inject an estimated $75 billion to $200 billion
into our economy without spending a dime: Legalize marijuana. Why legalize?

Firstly, it is imperative to recognize that marijuana is less
dangerous than alcohol and tobacco. There is less risk of addiction,
cancer and zero overdose risk.

We must also consider the societal costs. We spend $10 billion to 14
billion annually enforcing marijuana prohibition and force illicit
markets to take to the streets (i.e. guns, cartels/organized crime,
etc.). It costs money to prosecute drug offenders, incarcerate drug
users and employ federal enforcement agents. Marijuana and hemp
industries could affect our economy in an extremely positive manner.
Some estimate that $50 billion is spent by the American public
annually on marijuana alone.

As recently as World War II, hemp was produced for consumer and
industrial use, having an overwhelmingly positive economic impact.
Hemp is a viable bio-fuel and would thus prevent driving food prices
skyward due to bio-fuel corn production.

American students under 18 smoke marijuana more frequently than
students in the Netherlands, where marijuana is regulated. Pot
prohibition is hurting our youth, not helping.

Let's do as George Washington did and start growing some

Matthew Bajakian

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