The big winners from the legalization of cannabis has been federal and provincial governments.
Statistics Canada has reported government revenue of $186 million in taxes in less than six months.
There was $19 million in excise taxes for the federal government, and $79 million for provincial governments.
The GST brought in $36 million for the federal government and $53 million at the provincial level across the country.
The report also indicates there is likely to be even greater profits in the next six months as more and more cannabis retail stores open.
There are plenty of cannabis stores standing ready for a permit, receive cannabis stock and begin selling.
Clearly the federal government was not just thinking about cannabis users wanting easier access to the product legitimately, this is a huge source of revenue for governments.
Although media reports indicate there is still a thriving black market this is partly due to the lack of enough legitimate supply and it is expected to increase.
It does raise the question again of the black market for other drugs such as fentanyl, cocaine, meth and so on. It is a lucrative market for the illicit dealers of an often contaminated substance that causes significant harm and even death.
Police are spending huge resources to catch them and bring them to trial but it is probably a drop in the bucket compared to what is going on.
Then there are the people who are addicted to these drugs and the risk of an overdose often as a result of the supply being contaminated.
Surely it would be a better plan to have these drugs produced in a laboratory and sold in a controlled setting to those who have an addiction?
First of all the person buying the drug would be assured of a certain quality.
Secondly the government would be making the profit on these drugs, like they are with cannabis. The money could be used to provide the best options for those who would like to detox and go through a rehabilitation program with suitable supports for the long-term.
There would be plenty of money to have meaningful program to address the reasons why one person is more at risk of becoming addicted than another.
At the moment the tax payer is paying for treatment programs that are in sufficient to meet demand. The drug dealers are laughing as they stuff the money into their pockets and enjoy a luxurious lifestyle while their customers are dying.
The system we have currently is not working and it is time to think outside of the box.
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