Although the legalization of marijuana could generate “some tax revenue,” the federal government does not expect to make this trade a cash cow for the state, admitted Justin Trudeau.
The Liberals want to legalize pot for health and public safety reasons, not to make money, said this week the Prime Minister, in his year-end interview with The Canadian Press.
Any tax revenue from this trade should then be devoted to drug treatment, support for mental health and education programs – and not to the general revenue of the state, Mr. Trudeau argued Wednesday.
The Liberals promised to legalize marijuana while restricting access to the drug. They argue that the prohibition did not stop young people from using marijuana and that too many Canadians convicted of simple possession find themselves with a criminal record.
The government wants to repeal sections of the Criminal Code that prohibit the consumption and simple possession, but also more severely punish those who sell drugs to minors or who drive while impaired by marijuana.
Mr. Trudeau has already promised to form a working group composed of representatives of the three levels of government to devise a system of distribution and retail sale of marijuana, with advice from public health experts, and addiction in suppressing crime. This system would provide course of federal and provincial excise taxes.
The Prime Minister has however warned that if these taxes are too high, some consumers will turn to the black market, as seen sometimes with cigarettes, and then return to the drawing board to respect the safety Public.
On a visit to Vancouver, Thursday, Mr. Trudeau stressed the importance of hearing all points of view during preliminary consultations, including municipalities, provinces and the medical marijuana industry. It will also go to see what is happening elsewhere in the world, he said.