Money & Politics

November 8, 2013

The Blunt Truth: An Economic View on The Legalization of Marijuana

Several months ago, both Colorado and Washington State lifted their marijuana embargoes without medical validation. In an economic analysis, The Colorado Centre on Law and Policy found that the recent change will generate an upwards of sixty million dollars per year in revenue. It is estimated that Washington State will produce over 1.9 billion dollars over the course of five years, easily[1]. If Canada were to follow suit, we would see even more drastic changes made to our current economy. In fact, the British Columbian branch of the Liberal Party recently created a draft policy paper calling on the current government to end prohibition of marijuana in Canada.

This policy paper is endowed with potential solutions to the present unemployment issue and that of the economy[2]. Newly developed research lead by Simon Fraser University supports this paper and reveals that B.C. could acquire 2.5 billion dollars in tax and licensing revenues based on the span of five years[3]. Furthermore, thousands of new jobs, both directly and indirectly related to the cultivation, distribution, transportation and regulation of marijuana, would become available.

Based on the fact that Canada ranks fifth for marijuana use per capita on the global spectrum and first among developed nations[4], its legalization as a whole would exceed four billion dollars in economic benefits. Moreover, according to Health Canada’s statistics, medical marijuana use in Canada has increased from the less than five hundred users in 2002 to its current status of 430,000 users in 2011[5].

Dan Werb is the co-founder of both the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy and Stop The Violence B.C., (a coalition striving to change marijuana policies in order to lower gang and drug-related crime). He states that British Columbians spend roughly anywhere between 440 to 560 million dollars on marijuana – both recreationally and medically – every year[6].

The total spent on purchasing marijuana from government organizations is reflected in taxpayer dollars in the present Marihuana Medical Access Program[7]. The amount of tax payer dollars spent on the program remains undisclosed, yet it does not even begin to compare to the billions of dollars in revenue that could be realized through regulation. One may argue that lifting the embargo on the sale of marijuana will show little to no effect as it is already being sold on the black-market. A bill proposed by California shows that the state would still generate an income of $1.3 billion while it is still being sold similarly to its underground prices.

The legalization of marijuana is very questionable seeing as it would improve Canada’s current economic status. The revenue that could be attained through legalized marijuana is extremely high. Furthermore, an entire job network would be created: the work that would be needed into the regulation of this drug, such as production and transportation. Marijuana, legal or not, will continue to be consumed by tens of thousands of Canadians – we might as well benefit from it.


[5] The Canadian Press. “Legalizing pot would cut gang violence: experts.

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Recultured Team
Recultured Team
This is where you'll find the blog posts that the team has contributed to collectively! What team? Wildcats! -Nope, wrong team. Recultured!

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