Saturday, August 29, 2015

legalize tax and regulate?

Much has been made of Liberal leader Justin Trudeau's promise to legalize marijuana. The exact specifics of his plan have not been laid out.  Politicians are always reluctant to spell out in great detail what they propose since vague statements can be interpreted by the audience to mean whatever they want to them to mean but exact details can provoke opposition. While advocates of legalization have often brought up the refrain of 'legalize, tax and regulate' there is an alternative approach, which is simply to legalize. After all, why is it our purpose to increase state revenues? These revenues will after all be spent on new counterproductive schemes to control the economy and loot us of our hard earned wealth. And why should we subject the blossoming marijuana industry to regulations which, through the imposition of high fixed costs, will cripple the ability of smaller firms to compete with established business interests? What about the alternative - to eliminate the criminal penalties for production, distribution and cultivation but leave the newly created legal market in pot unregulated and untaxed.  Why not have a free market in ganja?

To be certain, marijuana should be legalized. In fact, the Canadian government should declare unconditional surrender in the war on drugs.  All drugs should be legal.  After all, if an individual owns their body, shouldn't they have the right to put in it whatever they please?  And even though drugs may be harmful, hasn't more harm been caused by this war?  What of the damage to our rights against unlawful search and seizure? What about all of the crimes against person and property which have gone unsolved because scarce police resources were squandered in this vain effort to keep addicts from using and dealers from selling? And what about all of the drug dealers languishing in prison and all the prison guards needlessly employed keeping them there?  If there were no war on drugs then their entrepreneurial talents would be redirected towards some other satisfaction of consumer demand. While it is common to demonize these men and women who have dared to defy state edicts, the reality is that drug dealing is a victimless crime.  These people aren't evil; they are simply out to make a buck.  And why not? If anything they are heroic for risking their lives and freedom to bring consumers want they want.

Even in the event that Trudeau is elected and he keeps his promise and legalizes pot, no doubt what would see in the legal marijuana market is what we see in other markets and in the present legal medical marijuana industry.  Regulations that protect a few established firms from competition.  A highly regulated, highly taxed, uncompetitive market for the benefit of a tiny elite.  Thanks but no thanks; better the money go to some kid who is slanging than the crony of a politician.

So absolutely, let's legalize, but instead of of taxing and regulating, why not try freedom?

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