Pubdate: Fri, 15 Dec 2017
Source: Truro Daily News (CN NS)
Copyright: 2017 The Daily News
Page: A4


The latest Corporate Research Associates (CRA) survey this week
probably sent chills down the spines of finance ministers and premiers
across Atlantic Canada. After returning home from Ottawa earlier in
the week with a lucrative tax-sharing deal on the sale of legalized
marijuana, visions of windfall revenues were quickly brought back to

The CRA survey suggests that approximately 20 per cent of Atlantic
Canadians plan to purchase pot once marijuana becomes legal July 1.
That is about the same percentage that uses pot today - illegally.

So, it appears there won't be a stampede by the population to get
stoned once marijuanais legalized. Most people who shun pot today will
still avoid the soft drug next July 1. The obvious difference is the
20 per cent of the population who use pot - regularly or occasionally
- - will be able to buy it at government-approved or operated outlets.
The revenue will benefit the public purse instead of drug dealers.

For the first time, a slim majority of Atlantic residents (53 per
cent) support legalization of marijuana for personal use, but only 15
per cent of Prince Edward Islanders plan to use marijuana when it
becomes legal. The numbers are only slightly higher elsewhere in the
region with Nova Scotia at 19 per cent, New Brunswick at 20 and
Newfoundland and Labrador at 23.

The federal government was well off base with its initial offer of a
50-50 split of excise taxes with the provinces. Ottawa passed
legislation to legalize pot and then unfairly dumped the costs of
enforcement, distribution, education and treatment onto the provinces.
The two-year deal gives provinces and territories a 75 per cent share
of tax revenues, with a portion going to cities and towns to help them
pay for enforcement costs. It's much more fair and reasonable.

Ottawa suggests there is unlimited potential for pot to generate far
more revenue but the feds shouldn't get their hopes too high. Based on
the CRA survey, Canadians might support legalization but a large
majority doesn't plan to smoke up.

Governments like to preach that legalization is not about revenues but
about protecting kids. Yes, the real benefits are control, product
safety and getting rid of criminal elements. And to eliminate the
illicit pot market, the ministers agreed to keep the per-gram price of
legal marijuana at roughly $10 - or even lower - relatively cheap by
most standards.

Another survey released this week also suggests that future tax
revenue for pot is exaggerated. An Ontario study indicates that in the
last 20 years, the proportion of students who reported drinking
alcohol dropped to 43 per cent from 66, while smoking rates plummeted
to seven per cent from 28, and marijuana use dropped to 19 per cent
from 28.

Young people are better educated, more concerned with their health and
more aware that alcohol and smoking - cigarettes or joints - are
simply not healthy options. Canada's expected pot boom could go bust.
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MAP posted-by: Matt