Jody Vance

The Politics of Pot

marijuana-leavesCan someone please explain to me the delays in legalization, and more importantly taxation, of marijuana?

While we sit and ponder the lack of funds for schools, nurses, mental health care, low-cost housing, social support for the elderly (and on and on) we are staring down tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue. Money from a substance that is already being sold – literally by the pound – in our backyard.

We have reached, and passed, the tipping point of social acceptance. There are no fewer than FIVE pot shops in our neighbourhood, a 10 block radius…..this alone leaves us wondering “What the hell is the government waiting for?”

There are those vehemently against pot legalization — on the other side there are militant folks (and I mean over-the-top, can’t take one iota of negativity) who don’t, in the end, help the cause. I count myself somewhere solidly in the middle, I don’t really care who sells it as long is it’s done legally and taxed appropriately.

Like so many of you, I’ve seen first hand how much comfort comes to family and friends who are terminally ill via medicinal marijuana. Yes, we’ve all seen teens and adults (of all ages) partake recreationally. (For the record, today’s pot is too damn strong for me…an anxiety attack waiting to happen.)

Legal or not, pot is being used and sold in our country…it’s just not being taxed.

As an industry — we happen to live in a habitat where growing pot is EASY, so why wouldn’t we create a system where we cultivate pot that isn’t sprayed with pesticides, covered in mould or worse — dusted with fentanyl? We can plan properly and sell it in a safe and responsible way (think booze). Why wouldn’t we do this as quickly as possible and get subsequent tax dollars into our provincial coffers?

It’s a mystery — one we need to solve, fast.

If we are afraid of what “might happen”, we need only look south to Colorado and see the $70m + they raked in last year in tax revenue! In Washington state you can go to one of many shops and buy safely. No pharmacy environment, no hoops to jump through — just an expectation of responsible use. WA has implemented a law of Possession for Personal use, up to 16 oz of pot without being subject to criminal or civil penalty. Seems more than reasonable, heavy handed even.

In the first year of legalization, Washington State collected $67.5 million in marijuana-related tax revenue….$67.5 MILLION!! It’s projected that that number will grow to $1B over the next four years. One BILLION dollars.

Let’s ponder the impact money like that could do in our province.

Popular opinion (by many people far smarter than I) is that Pot Legalization, and it’s taxation, is being “held” for use as a platform for the lead up to the Provincial election. A campaign platform to get out the youth vote. In my opinion the issues in need of tax dollar support are more important NOW. Enough of the politics of pot…let’s make it what it should be, a product of BC used to make BC better. An industry to harness and grow.

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2 Comments

  • Reply David Chesney September 12, 2016 at 9:47 am

    Good luck with your new venture(s) Jody. To be very honest I never saw the delay as being a set up for the Provincial election. You may be on to something here. I wish while we are waiting for full legalization we can institute a program whereby those in need of medical marijuana have much easier and affordable access.

    Life is wonderful at THE BEACH.

  • Reply Jody Vance September 12, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    Thanks Chez. I’m so touched that you are, not only reading, but commenting here. Means a lot to me (us). I also love your perspective on culture/music…everything, really. If ever you’d like to be a guest contributor just drop me an email jody.vance@mybackyard.press. xo

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