Editorial: Lighting up the economy

Legalizing pot isn’t that big a change. It’s already a part of our economy.

Being illegal — for now — makes it hard to pin down just how big the market for marijuana is, but one estimate suggests it’s at least as large as hard liquor sales, about $5 billion annually.

The report, from financial services firm Deloitte, estimates the market for legalized recreational marijuana could give Canada’s economy a $22.6 billion annual boost when you include growers, equipment suppliers and the like.

With that much of an economic boost at stake, it’s a little hard to understand the fear-mongering coming from many levels of society as the date for the promised legalization approaches.

Especially since marijuana is already a big, if underground, part of our daily lives anyway. In a recent column, Dan Albas. Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola MP and former Penticton city councillor, listed off a number of these fear factors, adding that “at this point, there are no answers to any of these concerns.”

That’s not really the case. For example, in the case of youth lighting up, well, they already do, just as they also manage to get their hands on alcohol and cigarettes, also no-no’s for the underage crowd. Legalizing marijuana and taking it out of the hands of street dealers isn’t going to make it easier for youth to get pot; it’s likely going to have the opposite effect.

Higher policing costs? Why would that happen if cops need to spend less of their time hunting down illegal grow-ops? Recreational users getting stoned at work? About as likely as bringing a case of beer to work.

Legalizing pot doesn’t mean it’s suddenly going to be a free-for-all of people lighting up every chance they get and marijuana available everywhere you turn. Like alcohol, it is going to be regulated.

What legalization does do is bring an existing economy into the light of day, generating tax income for governments and taking the profits out of the hands of criminals.

Just Posted

Albas takes on mortgage changes in town hall

Conservative MP mostly echoed chamber of commerce concerns but sparred with one attendee on details

Penticton Vees defenceman Tychonick has four point night

Jonny Tychonick had a goal and three assists to lead the Penticton Vees to a win over Prince George

Penticton organizer caught off-guard on NHL Young Stars comment

Penticton event chair said he cannot confirm or deny anything, just that an event will be held in the city

South Okanagan curling team sweeps into BC Games

Team consisting of Summerland and Penticton players qualifies for the BC Games

Penticton hospital fourth busiest in the region for opioid overdose

The highest was Kelowna General with about 355, followed by Vernon Jubilee 310 and Royal Inland in Kamloops with 180

Your Jan. 19 Morning Brief

Check out the top stories of the day in the Okanagan-Shuswap with Carmen Weld’s Black Press Morning Brief.

Christopher Garnier appealing murder conviction in death of off-duty cop

Jury found Garnier guilty in December, rejecting his claim she died accidentally during rough sex

Transportation watchdog must revisit air passenger obesity complaint

Canadian Transportation Agency must take new look at Gabor Lukacs’ complaint against Delta Air Lines

Gas plants verdict coming down today; ex-premier’s top aides to learn fate

Verdict to be delivered on senior staff to former Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty

Vernon homeless camp decommissioned

Camp off Highway 97 near 48th Avenue knocked down Thursday

Rock slide closes Hwy. 1 south of Ashcroft until Friday afternoon

A rock slide Thursday afternoon near Spences Bridge closed the highway in both directions

WestJet appeals lost bid to scrap harassment lawsuit

Airline argues judge was wrong to have dismissed the company’s application to strike the legal action

Can U.S. border guards search your phone? Yes, and here’s how

Secretary of homeland security explains a new policy that let’s border guards check phones

‘Beautiful writer’ Nancy Richler dies of cancer in Vancouver hospital

Montreal-born author spent most of her adult life in B.C. as a fiction writer and novelist

Most Read