Marijuana legalization could mean thousands of new jobs and a significant tax boon for Canadians , according to a new draft policy paper by the Liberal Party.
But the detailed report, released by the Liberals’ B.C branch, argues that low prices and high quality are essential to keep marijuana production out of the black market.
The paper states that marijuana prohibition has failed in not only preventing usage among Canada's youth but also in enabling the black market to flourish. Legalization, it argues, is essential to fighting organized crime.
“The legal status quo for the criminal regulation of marijuana continues to endanger Canadians by generating significant resources for gang-related violent criminal activity and weapons smuggling – a reality which could be very easily confronted by the regulation and legitimization of Canada’s marijuana industry,” the report states.
Legalization, on the other hand, will have enduring effects on the Canadian economy, with direct and indirect employment opportunities sprouting up in agriculture, technology and energy supply, transportation and distribution, legal services, and specialty retail stores.
“We recommend legal marijuana be sold to the public through specialty private stores and/or anywhere regulated liquor sales take place,” the report states.
Under the Liberals’ legalization plan, marijuana will be regulated and taxed under a federal- provincial regulatory and revenue-sharing agreement based on the current models used for alcohol and tobacco sales.
The government will also invest in resources for drug education and prevention, and extend amnesty to anyone convicted of a minimal possession charge
The paper proposes a possession limit of four ounces, compared to the one-ounce limit in Colorado and Washington, both of which ended their marijuana prohibitions in ballot initiatives November.
“We feel this is reasonable and akin to purchasing a 40 or 60 oz. bottle of vodka or whisky a couple times a year instead of buying a small bottle each month,” the report states.
The Liberal’s plan is in stark contrast to the Conservative’s new medical marijuana law, which will take away the ability of licenced marijuana patients to grow their own supply, which many argue will lead to higher prices and more patients seeking pot in the black market.