Pubdate: Mon, 02 Feb 2004
Source: Ottawa Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2004, Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Kirk Tousaw
Note: Parenthetical remark by the Sun editor, headline by newshawk


RE "TIDE is high on prevention" (Jan. 29): The idea of holding yet another 
summit to combat marijuana grow ops is absurd because the only strategies 
under discussion are proven failures. Community Safety Minister Monte 
Kwinter acknowledges that grow ops aren't going away. The police admit that 
they are already working with hydro. So what is the point?

Everyone knows that grow ops steal hydro to avoid detection. And they are 
operated unsafely (though that problem appears overblown) and in a manner 
that harms the property because illegal operations have no incentives to 
spend extra funds on safety or cleanliness. Legal businesses, on the other 
hand, want to be safe and want to maintain property values. Oh, and legal 
businesses don't trade their product for cocaine and guns.

Let's crunch the numbers. Ontario loses $85 million a year in stolen 
electricity. The pot industry generates $12 billion a year in profits. 
Clearly growers can afford to pay their electricity bills. If we ended our 
senseless prohibition of the marijuana plant, Ontario would be able to tax 
the industry (at a amazingly low 1% tax rate, that revenue would be $120 
million), recoup the stolen electricity costs, end the involvement of 
organized crime and impose real safety standards on growers. An option that 
actually works. But one that, unfortunately, won't be on the table at the 

Kirk Tousaw

Policy Director

B.C. Civil Liberties Association

(Of course, if you legalize pot, it likely won't be a $12-billion business 
for long ...)
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom