What Legal Marijuana Could Mean for Calgary's Economy

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What Legal Marijuana Could Mean for Calgary's Economy

I've written previously about the problems that criminalizing commonly-used recreational drugs causes here in Calgary. From gang violence to public health issues, making drugs illegal when we know, from abundant historical and present evidence, that they're going to be used anyway does a disservice to everyone—not just to casual drug users who might find themselves facing criminal charges for nothing other than getting intoxicated in the privacy of their own homes, but to society as a whole.

Drug criminalization is costly, in terms of social harm and in terms of Calgary's finances. The costs of law enforcement alone—Calgary Police investigating, arresting, detaining, and housing people following drug arrests and the costs of prosecuting drug possession charges in the Calgary courts—should be enough to convince those approaching the issue rationally that legalizing the majority of recreational drugs would be wise.

The fact that we're moving in that direction with marijuana is encouraging, not just because it means wasting less money on law enforcement, but because it could mean creating a legalized multi-billion dollar industry at a time when the economy throughout Canada, and here in Calgary especially, is suffering due to falling prices in one of our other major markets (i.e. oil). This fact was breifly and humorously noted in a piece that caught my eye in The Globe & Mail of all places, that focuses more on the home gardening and crafting aspects of potential legalization, but that also notes the importance legalized marijuana could have to Canada's economy.

Like I said, people do drugs even though they're illegal. Marijuana is one of the most widely used intoxicants in the world, in Canada, and in Calgary, and according to overwhelming medical and scientific research it poses far less of a risk to an individual's health and to public safety than either alcohol or tobacco. Acute (i.e. short-term or single-sitting) marijuana overdose is non-existent (while technically possible, it would require ingesting such huge amounts of marijuana that it isn't a concern—it's easier to die of an overdose of water than marijuana), and long-term health effects even with heavy use appear to be minimal.

Whatever harmful effects marijuana does have, they are less serious than long-term alcohol and tobacco use, yet the latter two are sold at great profit (and great tax revenue, it should be noted) while marijuana remains criminalized, by and large. When Canada and Calgary's drug policy starts to change, we'll see better public health and a more robust economy.

A Calgary Defence Lawyer for Any Drug Offence Charges

If you or a family member has been charged with a drug-related offence in Calgary, whether it involves marijuana and/or a different controlled substance, you are entitled to professional and passionate legal assistance. Please feel free to contact me anytime to set up an appointment and discuss the details of your case.