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The government is poised to introduce legislation in April to legalize pot.
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In last year's Liberal election platform, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to legalize marijuana, touting a "new system of strict marijuana sales and distribution, with appropriate federal and provincial excise taxes applied." By leaving out the possibility of city taxes, Trudeau raised the hackles of spend-crazy mayors across the nation. Now the mayors are pushing back -- they want a piece of the green.
The money raised through those taxes will have more impact if it is used to support prevention and counselling than it will by becoming part of general revenues used for various purposes. Second, the taxes will more likely be supported by the public if they are used for these specific ends.
While Tuesday night's presidential election drew the largest headlines, the passing of Washington state's Initiative 502 and Colorado's Amendment 64, which both call for the legalization and taxation of the adult recreational use of marijuana, could have enormous implications in British Columbia.
Today, under cannabis prohibition, youth have easier access to marijuana than alcohol or tobacco. As a law enforcement leader and former minister of public safety who has spent more than 33 years creating and enforcing laws, I know that a strictly regulated marijuana market for adult cannabis use would better protect youth through the use of regulatory tools that have proven so effective in reducing tobacco use.
The taxes resulting from a regulated cannabis market could support our most important public programs, including health and education. Rather than enforcing unworkable laws that breed violence, police would be free to focus on laws that actually protect citizens and improve public safety.