Ottawa Stays One Toke Behind The Times

It may be old-fashioned paternalism or 21st{+-}century Conservative ideology. Either way, it’s clear our federal government is not on the same page as most Canadians when it comes to our marijuana laws.

While the rest of us seem to be leaning toward relaxing laws around marijuana, the federal government maintains a tough stance on weed.

A week ago, Forum Research polled 1,849 randomly selected people over the phone. Sixty-five per cent of those polled want to see our pot laws loosened; they favour either decriminalizing small amounts or legalizing and taxing marijuana. Only 17 per cent believe the current pot laws should remain and 15 per cent favour tougher laws.

A recent British Columbia report from Angus Reid pollsters indicated about 75 per cent support for decriminalizing marijuana use among adults. Earlier this month, voters in Washington state and Colorado voted in favour of decriminalizing pot.

A large part of the marijuana issue is economic. A recent study in B.C. estimated pot purchases in that province total about half a billion dollars every year. Data from Washington state, referenced in the B.C. study, suggested that if the state regulated the marijuana sector, it would bring in as much as $2.5 billion in taxes over a five-year period.

One school of thought suggests pot should be viewed in the same way we view alcohol and tobacco, both of which are strictly regulated and highly taxed.

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