According to this Calgary Herald article, a new report from CIBC World Markets says Canada’s federal and provincial governments could reap as much as $5 billion annually in tax revenues from the sale of legal marijuana. CIBC also estimates that the market could blossom to $10 billion annually.
Prime Minister Trudeau maintains that legalized marijuana will not be a cash cow and that all revenues will address mental health and addiction issues. Given the current economic uncertainty Canada is facing, perhaps it is time the government reconsiders its stance on this issue by expanding the revenues to offset costs for broader health care programs and medical or scientific research. Like other “sin” taxes, such as alcohol or gaming, large portion of the proceeds are returned to the community by supporting charitable and community-based programs, thereby freeing up government funding for other programs.
The bottom line is that if marijuana is going to be legalized, there must be a comprehensive strategy in place to ensure the medical, social and economic well-being of Canadians.