Seeing as I haven’t taken on this particularly controversial topic, perhaps it is about time that I gave my two cents. When it comes to the great debate about whether or not marijuana should be legalized, most medical professionals will publicly give a carefully hedged answer on how “more studies should be done” or speak about how “there are too many side affects so as not to proceed cautiously”, blah, blah, blah. I will come right out and say that I think that it should be legalized with one caveat, namely, that it be taxed at the same rate as cigarettes and alcohol.
My reasons for this are that at the moment, the Canadian government is spending billions on ineffectual suppressive enforcement, loosing billions on potential tax revenues and acquiescing just a little too much to our puritanical southern neighbors. In addition to these three reasons, here are a few more. The medical effects of this plant are a boon to many different illnesses that have to contend with chronic pain and loss of appetite and it is even used in Chinese Medicine as a laxative (hemp seed). The hemp plant (marijuana comes from the flower buds) is also ecologically friendly, requires no pesticides, provides many additional products that can be commercially exploited (such as fiber, food and oil) and is easily cultivated.
However, it doesn’t stop there. With control also comes better purity standards and less stigmatization. The BC economy would collapse without this substance as well. Unfortunately, we still have those opponents that lean very heavily on the “gateway-drug” theory. The theory that one drug will make you want to go out there and try all of the others is rubbish. The Dutch don’t seem to be walking around stoned all day long, only the tourists that come from countries that have made it illegal. And…none of those stoned tourists seem to be picking fights with anyone the way a drunk might.
The state of California has started thinking about legalizing the substance as well. If there is one thing that Americans know how to do, it is making profits. If they do it before we do, they will stop buying BC Bud, and when they do, the BC economy (and by extension the Canadian one) will take a nosedive. Finally, with all of the profits that the Canadian government could make, its coffers would be full enough to fully fund Health Care, build high-speed electric bullet trains all across Canada, fund better national day care and have perhaps a little left over for those silly fighter jets that the military seems to be lusting after.