Pubdate: Wed, 08 Nov 2017
Source: Penticton Western (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Penticton Western


Being illegal - for now - makes it hard to pin down just how big the
market for marijuana is, but one estimate suggests it's at least as
large as hard liquor sales, about $5 billion annually.

The report, from financial services firm Deloitte, estimates the
market for legalized recreational marijuana could give Canada's
economy a $22.6 billion annual boost when you include growers,
equipment suppliers and the like.

With that much of an economic boost at stake, it's a little hard to
understand the fear-mongering coming from many levels of society as
the date for the promised legalization approaches.

Especially since marijuana is already a big, if underground, part of
our daily lives anyway. In a recent column, Dan Albas. Central
Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola MP and former Penticton city councillor,
listed off a number of these fear factors, adding that "at this point,
there are no answers to any of these concerns."

That's not really the case. For example, in the case of youth lighting
up, well, they already do, just as they also manage to get their hands
on alcohol and cigarettes, also no-no's for the underage crowd.
Legalizing marijuana and taking it out of the hands of street dealers
isn't going to make it easier for youth to get pot; it's likely going
to have the opposite effect.

Higher policing costs? Why would that happen if cops need to spend
less of their time hunting down illegal grow-ops? Recreational users
getting stoned at work? About as likely as bringing a case of beer to

Legalizing pot doesn't mean it's suddenly going to be a free-for-all
of people lighting up every chance they get and marijuana available
everywhere you turn. Like alcohol, it is going to be regulated.

What legalization does do is bring an existing economy into the light
of day, generating tax income for governments and taking the profits
out of the hands of criminals.
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