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Title: Prohibition vs. Legalization of Marijuana: The Canadian Context on Legalization Policy
Authors: Stock, Michelle
Issue Date: Sep-2014
Citation: Stock, Michelle. (2014). Prohibition vs. Legalization of Marijuana: The Canadian Context on Legalization Policy ( Unpublished master's thesis). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB.
Abstract: Prohibitive drug laws have been in place for over 100 years yet a global movement is emerging that argues that criminalization is a poor policy option to address the War on Drugs. Cannabis is one of the most widely used illegal drugs worldwide with roughly 4% of the global adult population being illegal drug users. Prohibition has resulted in the creation of illegal markets, and produced greater negative consequences associated with controlling the production, distribution and consumption of the product. Another issue is the effect that prohibition has on government spending in terms of enforcement costs, court costs, and incarceration. As of 2012, the cost of keeping an inmate incarcerated in Canada is $117,000. Roughly $1 billion is spent annually on drug enforcement in Canada. Policies supporting the prohibition of marijuana are based in large part on the notion that consuming marijuana is both a public safety concern, and detrimental to an individual's health, yet there is little research to back this up. From a revenue standpoint, Canada is losing out on a large amount of money that could go to better serve our population rather than remain in the hands of an illegal market. In the last six months the success of legalization in Colorado has legitimized the notion that Canada should act on reforming its marijuana policy. Although there are some minor health implications if marijuana were to be legalized, it is far less detrimental when compared to alcohol and tobacco consumption. This paper recommends that marijuana be legalized and regulated in Canada. Taxing marijuana at multiple stages can produce a large amount of revenue for the federal and provincial governments. Mandatory licensing for cultivators and retailers will ensure effective regulation. From a tax policy perspective, Canada has the potential to generate between $4 to $8 billion dollars in revenue.
Appears in Collections:Master of Public Policy Capstone Projects

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