The marijuana prohibition in British Columbia and Canada is an issue that needs to be addressed; it does not reduce the total number of people using the substances, increases the cost spent on law enforcement, and is a six billion dollar industry in B.C alone that we are unable to tax (Maclean, 2005). In this paper we will examine three innovations British Columbia could enact the first is legalization of marijuana in B.C and Canada, exploring decriminalization, and leaving the marijuana laws the way they are.
In British Columbia and across Canada 40 percent of youth currently going to school have admitted to using marijuana, and approximately 12.6% of the Canadian population or about 4.39 million adults have used cannabis at least once in the past year (Henry,2009; Flister, 2012). It has impacted our streets and schools and our residential neighborhoods are becoming more dangerous because drug dealers are targeting our youth to use and sell their substances (Maclean, 2005). According to Mark Maclean in his article “Vancouver Drug Epidemiology and Drug Crime Statisitics 2000” seventy one percent of the drug crimes committed in B.C. alone involved cannabis. This will eventually get worse now with the The Safe Streets and Communities Act that is already in affect outlines individuals who grow 6 or more weed plants will be facing a minimum of 6 months in prison (Little & Nash, n.d).
Flitser (2012) notes if we are to legalize marijuana in Canada while maintaining the current retail prices to a marijuana cigarette, which is approximately $8.60. This will be tax equivalent to the difference between the current street prices and the costs of production and will amount to high profits for the government (Filtser, 2012). In total the estimated revenues will account for $2 billion. If the laws were changed, instead having a current projection of a $1.3 billion deficit by 2014-2015, the Government of Canada would have a budget surplus of $2.7 billion dollars (Flitser, 2012). This will amount for more money the Federal Government can spend on programs for creating more jobs, health care, and education.
Innovations to Address the Issue
Option 1 Legalization and Regulation of Marijuana
The province of British Columbia is in debt and needs to make changes so the debt in our province does not worsen. British Columbia is expected to be $66.4 billion dollars in debt by 2014-2015, and which is a thirty percent increase in debt from the year 2011-2012 (Anderson, 2012). The benefits of legalizing marijuana are we have control over the six billion dollar industry in our province, which will allow our province with another source of income, and create more jobs (Maclean, 2005). There will be many new businesses and factories opening up to produce the substance. These jobs will create financial support for the families looking for work across the province and will also contribute to our economy. According to an interview done by...