Pot As Economic Medicine?

Marijuana activists and politicians Jodie and Marc Emery enjoy an illegal smoke.Marijuana activists and politicians Jodie and Marc Emery enjoy an illegal smoke.As world leaders scramble for ways to resurrect the dwindling economy, it seems that even marijuana is not being ruled out as a possible economic stimulus.

American citizens proposed legalizing marijuana to U.S. President Barack Obama as an economic solution in his first online town hall meeting, which he held last week.

“I don’t think that is a good strategy to grow our economy,” Obama replied.

That opinion was not shared by some Canadian politicians.
Martin Keith, the Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca MP introduced a bill in the House of Commons yesterday to decriminalize the possession of marijuana.

“The war on drugs has been a complete failure,” he said.

The Conservative Party of Canada could not be reached to comment on its drug policy. The government’s current position is that marijuana is illegal except for those who have a doctor’s recommendation.

But Jodie Emery, marijuana activist and editor of the Vancouver-based Cannabis Culture magazine, said legalizing, taxing and regulating marijuana would create jobs in the farming, forestry and textile industries.

“Farmers could run greenhouses growing the plants,” she said, adding the industry could replace forestry because hemp can be used to make lumber-like products.

To give an idea of how large the marijuana cultivation industry is in B.C., in 2000 there were 2,800 “busts” of marijuana grow operations, according to a Fraser Institute report issued in 2004.

“I estimate that British Columbia’s commercial production is probably in the range of 400,000 kilograms,” said researcher Stephen Easton, who authored the report.

In 2001, 50,000 Canadians were charged with possession, 11,000 with trafficking and 9,000 with cultivation. There are nearly two million Canadians who use marijuana, according to the report.

“Law enforcement takes up millions and millions of dollars and that money could be used elsewhere,” Emery said.

Instead of spending money we could be making it, according to Margaret Evans, a Langara College economics instructor.

“You could compare taxes collected from similar products like cigarettes to find out the cost benefits,” said Evans.
The Fraser Institute report used a similar model to produce their data.

An estimate of the retail price for a marijuana cigarette would be $8.50 with the cost of production being $1.50. This would imply a tax rate of $7 per cigarette, according to the report.

If domestic consumption is in the range of 160,000 kilograms and a cigarette is about half a gram, then tax revenue implied by this arrangement is more than $2 billion.

And depending how the local production is valued, sales of marijuana output could amount to between 1.5 and 4.6 per cent of the province’s gross domestic product.

However, what’s good for the economy is not always good for society, according to Evans.

“You always have to look at the increased social costs,” Evans said.

– Article from The Voice.



  1. renney b. on

    there is a saying, ‘dont count your chickens before they are hatched…’ trying to give a dollar amount to the marijuana industry is futile… it is the bighest industry in the world ; if you compare it to the price of gold you will understand what i am talking about. however i am afraid even this reality will not convince the prohibitionist to change their point of view. the cannabis culture has always maintained that we have the best medicine ; for the mind, body and soul… the big pharma companies make synthetic copies of thc in the form of marinol and other brand names as substitutes for the real thing. they make millions or rather billions of dollars from the sales and taxing of this so called medicine in their drive to refuse freedom to the real thing; marijuana… however, in keeping with the point of the topic, pots economic medicine; i will add all of these moneys together and prove to the prohibitionist that, whatever way they count it original or copy, marijuana is the best medicine for not only the economy but, for our mind , body and soul… free the holy life giving herb and watch the economy and all aspects of the country grow… cannabis for food, medicine, textile, fuel oil, and sacrament and any other purpose that a free and new generation of users, growers and distributers can emmulate from the past… peace and love, from; ren b.

  2. jodie on

    You say I confused buds with hemp, but then you propose that working with hemp will get people high? They are different things. Hemp doesn’t get you high, and I’m sure that hemp processing machines and facilities are just as safe – if not safer – than regular cotton or lumber processing plants.

    Jobs exist in both the cannabis and industrial hemp industries. If cannabis is legalized, regulated, produced and sold for adult use under controls like alcohol, then money will be spent in the legitimate economy. Numerous jobs will be created in agriculture, wholesale, distribution, and vending of cannabis.

    Jobs will be created with hemp, too: hemp can be used to make paper, textiles, biodegradable plastics, construction materials, food, and fuel. If hemp is explored more thoroughly in industrial and commercial applications (using both the seeds and fibres), there will be many jobs created in farming, building/construction, food production, clothing manufacturing, and more.

    The new processing plants are modern technology, totally safe, and economically viable. Read “Canadian Hemp Factory to Create Jobs, Green Energy, and Economic Stimulus” ( http://www.cannabisculture.com/v2/node/17090 ).

  3. Anonymous on

    what are you talking about, are you part of the Republican Smear Campaign that post anti obama messages on every article posted, I think so. The election is over, McCain lost get over it you loser and I assume your a racist also.

  4. Brandon Steele on

    C&S SPECIALTY BUILDER’S SUPPLY INC. of Harrisburg, Oregon, leads the field in the development of hemp building materials. Their first offering is hemp MDF (medium density fiber) composite boards. The hemp boards tested by Washington State University Wood Materials and Engineering Laboratory proved to be two and one half times stronger than wood MDF composites, plus hemp composite boards have three times more elasticity than wood composite boards. Elasticity is the factor that determines whether or not a nail can be driven into the board. Another advantage is that water won’t penetrate the hemp boards.
    C&S partners David Seber and William Conde say, “The composite board industry is one of the fastest growing segments of the wood products industry in the United States, with 1991 sales of over one billion dollars, and one whose primary raw material is becoming scarce.”
    According to Seber, “The first law of composite science is: the strength of the product is proportional to the length of the fiber. Hemp is the King Kong plant of fibers. Though long fiber is hemp’s best feature, even when ground up it’s still two to three times stronger.” C&S had to grind their hemp in order to process it without modification of existing machinery. Seber predicts that eventually hemp will revolutionize the building materials industry, with long-fiber hemp composites rivaling steel I-beams in strength.
    Despite the shortage of hemp stalks on the world market, C&S has continued research into other industrial hemp products. In Springtime 1993 C&S formed a mutual research project with Xylem Inc. Together they’re building the world’s first prototype “Xylanizer” biofractionation line. Biofractionation is the process of reducing plant matter into three basic components: cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. The process is also called “steam explosion.”
    Starting in Winter 1993 in conjunction with a grant from the United States Alternative Energy Corporation, C&S will conduct Xylanizer research on hemp and other agricultural plants. C&S investigators believe hemp “hurds have great potential to make glues for composite construction products” — products that are non-toxic and generally superior to the expensive and toxic petroleum based binders currently used. With this technology industry can produce completely non-toxic composite boards where all components are derived from hemp.
    The industrial hemp entrepreneurs at C&S Specialty Builders Supply “have concluded that the best alternative to wood in construction products is hemp. In fact, hemp has the potential to be vastly superior to wood for everything from lumber to plywood to particle board or any other composite construction material.”
    C&S is planning to blend straw with hemp because the availability of hemp stalks is sporadic. Fiberboard made from straw alone isn’t as strong as wood fiberboard but when blended with hemp it exceeds all standards for comparable composites and wood products. Right now they are having difficulty locating a supply of hemp stalks to continue research.

  5. Anonymous on

    Ok, so trees make better plywood, that makes sense. But what about fiberboard?

    “Washington State University has produced hemp fiberboard that is lighter, twice as strong, and three times as elastic as wood fiberboard, plus it has sound proofing and pressure isolating characteristics absent from wood fiberboard. These composites are also resistant to pests, moisture, and fungi.”

    From what I understand, there’s not much of a difference between plywood and fiberboard, it’s mainly preference. The fact of the matter is that hemp can be used in virtually every part of a building, and society and technology permitting, it could be more abundant and ecologically sound than any other material.

  6. JML on

    Yeah why don’t we take a look at the increased social cost of Prohibition!

  7. goomba on

    Sorry pal, looks like YOU didn’t do your homework:


    Pot Protects From Workplace Accidents

    Another one of the overhyped stereotypes around marijuana users has just bitten the dust. For years people assumed that getting ‘stoned’ made you either lazy or careless. The bleary-eyed stoner getting into mishaps is the stuff of much comedy. But what if marijuana use actually made you more careful and less likely to screw up and hurt yourself?

    A new Swiss study published at Bio-Med Central concludes exactly that: marijuana can protect you from injury. The study, titled “Alcohol and cannabis use as risk factors for injury – a case-crossover analysis in a Swiss hospital emergency department” compared the injuries that required hospitalization. The authors’ conclusions were surprising: marijuana use is not only NOT associated with increased risk of injury – marijuana users actually get injured less than sober people: “The results for cannabis use were quite surprising. […] The present study in fact indicated a ‘protective effect’ of cannabis use in a dose-response relationship.”

  8. Anonymous on

    is not practical to make construction quality plywood sheeting from hemp. Trees make a superior sheet wood product than hemp. Same goes for 2 x 4s- trees make a better cheaper 2 x 4 than hemp, now and forever.
    Hydro/ utility poles, rail road ties, pallets, mine shaft cribbing, decking, crossbeams, framing. all exterior woody products– – etc etc tree product is greatly superior to hemp for the greater % of forest product application. Hemp is only suitable to indoor passive use materials, not the heavy stuff that wood is required for in such vast quantities

    You might be thinking hemp can replace popsickle sticks & Ikea furniture. Hemp is passable for some softer applications in alternative apartment life, but its tree wood that will be used for the rest of the real world. Anybody who claims hemp can replace anything that trees are used for has never really looked around.

  9. Anonymous on

    Jodie has not done her homework again.. a marijuana economy would not do anything at alkl to stimulate to creation of or sustain the smooth operations of a Canadian textile industry. Mrs Emery, assistant editor oif a progressive cannabis magazine has confused buds ( drugs ) with hemp ( fibre ) .

    With all those dangerous whirling textile machines in action , the use of marijuana by any textile employees would be just cause for instant and permanent dismissal- Job safety issues here — remember the ” no operating machinery” part of responsible cannabis intoxication ?

    Stick to watching the rising sea levels in your bong Jodie,

  10. Bill on

    that he (Obama) thought it was funny, or that the “online community” is somehow not us?????

  11. BG on

    I have to wonder also,with many products including building material that could be made from hemp,what would this do for the price of lumber. Right now the price is ridiculous… imagine affordable housing due to lowered cost of raw materials.

  12. flower power on

    Through their nature flowers bestow almost literally what is most highly favoured by Nature, namely the gracious elegance, beauty and strength of fruition and satisfaction, I wood gather, the knowledge that relationship blossoms and unfolds. It makes sense and even those odd cents too, to two, that every sense highly nurtures, especially those found comforting in the healing leaves of home, hearth and family. The family of hemp has nurtured humankind for millennia, indeed the family of plant has always made double, triple, and sow much power etc., etc., etc., to enlighten and expand thereof the repository of senses itself even, for all life’s mutual nourishment, shelter and satisfaction. Plants and the earth planet go hand in hand. As Plant is to Planet, in that sense of the Flower to the fruitful Power, sow Cannabis, as Planet has Earth in Hands of Plants, for example, the relationship of Cannabis to home, hearth and family of the Earth, namely the Health of the Nations on the Planet, namely the co-dependency of humankind and their mutually satisfying fruition, namely gracious elegance, beauty and harvest Nature strengthens thereby, most highly satisfying, at that.

    Peace on Pot