Pubdate: Thu, 04 Jul 2002
Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)
Copyright: 2002, The Globe and Mail Company
Author: Wayne Phillips


Hamilton, Ont. -- Given such a concentration of cannabis (O Cannabis -- 
editorial, June 29) in one city -- Vancouver -- it can be easily seen that 
all of British Columbia generates annual revenue exceeding the $36-billion 
in cash receipts generated last year by all of Canada's "legitimate" crops 

And then there is the rest of Canada. It is estimated that federal agencies 
spend between $325-million and $500-million of taxpayer funds each year 
eradicationg cannabis -- more than 30,000 people are charged with simple 
possession annually. It is inconceivable that Ottawa would rather spend 
this amount of money than accrue revenue on a potential $36-billion-plus.

Yet these direct monetary costs are only half of what we pay. There are 
also court and incarceration costs. And then there is all the good that 
could have been done if these vast resources had been available for other 

The prohibition of cannabis has demonstrated itself to be ineffective law 
that is neither a deterrent to youth nor to marijuana growers. If there 
isn't an expert in the country who would recommend that marijuana be the 
one that is banned based on individual and societal harm, then the 
prohibition of cannabis is a mistake.
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