Bigger Than Forestry


Vancouver Mayor Larry Campbell wants to legalize marijuana sales. "Taxes levied on marijuana sales could add to the resources for treatment," he said at a meeting of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association. "Remember, the B.C. marijuana trade is estimated at $6 billion [US$4.4 billion] annually–larger than construction or forestry."

Of course, that's the value of the crop at black market prices. Imagine how much forestry would be worth if trees were illegal.

NEXT: Asians Only

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I’m not an economist, so I don’t know what the models say, but it seems to me that the province would be able to both tax the newly legal commodity as well as reduce the resources expended on Government Prosecutions/Corrections. Also, as price and prosecutions deline, sales will rise.

  2. Whenever I hear the call to tax legalized drugs, I always wonder what’s wrong with just diverting the revenue currently spent on drug prohibition. Not that I’m OK with that money remaining in gov’t hands, but if it’s a choice between all of the old taxes plus a brand new one vs. just all of the old taxes, well, I know what I’ll choose.

    Then again, judging from the fact that we still have the ATF, it’s safe to say that ending alcohol prohibition did nothing to decrease law enforcement expenditures. So maybe the DEA will become a tax collection agency if pot is ever legalized. Sad.

  3. thoreau, for all intents and purposes, you’re already paying a tax – to the drug cartels. I doubt even Reason regulars like the Ochoas better than the federal government.

  4. “I’ve got some killer mahogany… $1,000 a board foot.”

  5. He said he opposes full decriminalization because of problems with “real criminals,” such as dealers, and the crimes they commit and foster.

    Am I missing something? If pot is decriminalized, wouldn’t the dealers be decriminalized too? Unless they avoid paying taxes on their income, what crimes could they possibly commit? False advertising? “Hey Buddy, you said this was the one hit shit and it takes me a gram just to get started! This must be American ditch weed!”

  6. More money for treatment? Marijuana treatment? Treatment is often laughable and only flourishes because the courts have already packed the jails and so what runneth over goes into treatment. What a joke. It’s a thinly-veiled plea for more of our hard-earned cash, nothing more.

  7. Studies indicate fewer residents of the Netherlands than, for example, Americans, have tried marijuana, and cannabis use among Dutch schoolchildren has fallen, he said.

    “The conclusion is pretty clear,” he said. “Legal, regulated sale of marijuana may actually produce less consumption.”

    Wow, what would the cops do?

  8. The cops would take over, or more likely become the US version of the Nazi brownshirts for the republican party.

    Last thing this country needs is a bunch of strong, dumb losers with a taste for power being out of work. Better to send them all to Mars or Iraq.

  9. “The cops would take over, or more likely become the US version of the Nazi brownshirts for the republican party.”

    And this would make them diffrent…How?

  10. presumably Mr Campbell will shortly be nobbled in some way.

  11. The cops would take over, or more likely become the US version of the Nazi brownshirts for the republican party.

    What I wonder is how many potential supporters of drug decriminalization get scared away by the fact that its most vocal supporters invariably come across as paranoid drug-addled morons.

    My advice: stick to espousing *sane* beliefs, like “too much money is spent on drug prohibition” and “drug use is a victimless crime”. Avoid the “people who want to take away my bong are almost exactly the same as genocidal fascists” crap. It may make sense when you’re stoned, but trust me — it just sounds stupid once you sober up.

  12. “Taxes levied on marijuana sales could add to the resources for treatment,”

    An argument for a good cause but one that is totally wrong headed. If marijuana use was really something that required “treatment”, there would be an increased need for this treatment attendant to the increased use with legalization.

  13. Assume that a repeal of the drug laws was passed. The producers of alcoholic beverages would howl if their products retained the high taxes they are subject to, while pot, pills and dope could be sold without any duty. Lobbyists would strive for either a repeal of booze taxes, a very unlikely prospect, or imposition of equivalent excises on non-alcoholic intoxicants, and probably similar sales restrictions, too.

    A lower tax, with the consumer paying as much on an amount of some drug that would get the theoretical average person high as he would on enough hooch to get buzzed, could be set, raising whatever revenue the people’s representatives deem fair. I’d say 0% would be OK with me, but I’d probably be on the losing end of that one.


  14. How about combining the DNA of cannibis with spruce? Talk about a cash crop!

  15. The reason decrim is not preferable is that in most all contexts it is discussed, it only decrims possession. Trafficking is still illegal, thus the black market continues and high prices are retained.

    Though most pot users won’t commit significant crimes to fund their use, users of other substances which have potential for compulsive use may do so unless the price is reduced thru a legal, regulated and competitively priced market.

    Oh and Larry Campbell is a great North American.

    He heard about our org and asked to join. We liked the idea so much we put him directly onto our Advisory Board.

    See: and click Who We Are

  16. When trees are illegal, only outlaws will have trees. 😉

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.