Should marijuana be legalized on a purely economical basis?
by riccardozhai on September 9, 2013 - 6:25pm
The issue of marijuana legalization/decriminalization in Canada having been brought to public attention recently by Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, journalists Tobi Cohen and Andrea Hill of the Vancouver Sun in their article "Not everyone high on pot's economic benefits" thought it appropriate to clarify both sides of the argument concerning this issue on a financial standpoint. The medical aspect of marijuana use/consumption is not treated in the subject article or in this post.
The main argument for legalizing marijuana would be its potential boost to the economy. Tax revenues stemming from the sale of marijuana would increase government capital if illegal marijuana sales were to be eradicated and eliminated completely. The taxes generated in Canada are expected, according to Simon Fraser University economist Stephen Easton, to be on equal footing of that from tobacco sales.
The argument against the legalization of marijuana relates to its non-effect on the economy.Although some believe that marijuana legalization would create jobs, due to the similar nature of marijuana and tobacco products in their production, the mechanization of the tobacco industry is a good example of how human labor has been taken out of the business equation for such industries. Thus, the potential positive economic effect is expected to be minimal. Only the higher ups of tobacco companies would benefit from this.
The ethical principle in favor of legalization of marijuana would be for the greater good of the people. The taxes generated from legalized marijuana sales could be used to better assist those in need. With more monetary power, the government could potentially improve aspects of society that would otherwise remain untouched. The well being of many would thus be improved at no cost from those in need.
However, the legalization of marijuana justified only by the potential tax revenue from it could be viewed as using people as means for profit. The only few that would benefit from marijuana sales on an economic level are the big tobacco companies and the government. Being that the chances for major job creation by a potential marijuana industry are very small, it could be argued that the government would be using their people as means to increase taxes and to increase profits for the tobacco companies.
In the end, I am in favor of legalizing marijuana on a purely economic basis. I believe that the potential benefits from the hypothetical increase in tax revenue for the government would greatly assist the latter in helping improve society as a whole. Although this could be seen as exploitation of the population to increase tax revenue and profits for tobacco companies, I think that the people have a right to decide for themselves whether or not to procure marijuana at their own expense. It is not exploitation, for the choice remains in the hands of the consumers. Also, the possible benefits from marijuana legalization are far greater than the risk stemming from it.
Cohen,Tobi and Hill,Andrea. “Not everyone high on pot's economic benefits”.Vancouver Sun. September 9th 2013