Pot status quo vs. legalization

The Surrey Leader published my letter “Pot status quo vs. legalization.

Here’s the money line:

Failing to legalize, however, is a guarantee that the status quo will remain or worsen.

Pot status quo vs. legalization

Kurt Langmann (The Leader, May 20) has some good ideas about the need for enhanced community involvement and mentoring of young people. But he’s wrong that legalizing marijuana in Canada won’t take the profit out of the marijuana industry in B.C.

And he’s wrong to suggest that the U.S. is highly unlikely to legalize marijuana. In fact, I suspect that marijuana will be legalized in various U.S. states before we have the courage to do it here. It is already legal to possess marijuana (and grow it) in your home in Alaska. Legalization is being debated in California and Massachusetts at the state government level and enjoys majority public support in both states. Legalization barely missed becoming law in Nevada in the last two election cycles.

More to the point, there is a tremendous amount of money being made in the domestic Canadian industry. Canadians consume upwards of 10 million grams of marijuana each month. At street prices that represents about $100,000,000 in sales per month – no small potatoes. Legalization here would drive the price down so far that it may be difficult for criminals to compete with the legal market.

It is probably also worth remembering that Canada is a minor supplier of marijuana to the U.S. Most of its marijuana is produced domestically (good Californian cannabis is as good as so-called “B.C. bud”) and the bulk of its imported marijuana comes from Mexico. And, by the way, it isn’t only B.C. Bud that sells for higher prices in the U.S. – all quality marijuana is more expensive there.

Mr. Langmann, though, is right that legalization is no panacea. Failing to legalize, however, is a guarantee that the status quo will remain or worsen.

Kirk Tousaw