Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has spoken out on his hopes and plans for legalizing cannabis in Canada. Simply put, he isn't legalizing marijuana to create a lucrative new industry. He's doing it for public safety.
In particular, he wants to legalize, regulate and restrict access to cannabis in order to keep cannabis off the streets and away from children, as well as gangs:
"Right now Canada has the highest use of marijuana by underage people in the developed world. We need to make sure we're keeping our kids safe and keeping our communities safe by removing the black market and the criminal gangs and the street organizations from it."
So when it becomes legal, he isn't planning to apply heavy taxes so that the government can profit from the new cash crop. Indeed, like Texas A&M researcher Gina S. Warren, he worries that imposing heavy taxes would be a boon for the black market.
"The fact is that if you tax it too much, as you saw with cigarettes, you end up driving things toward a black market, which will not keep Canadians safe -- particularly young Canadians. So, yes, there is potential for a bit of revenue on that, but we're certainly not looking for a windfall."
And whatever money does come from legalization, he wants to invest in social programs:
"There is potential for a bit of revenue on that, but we're certainly not looking for a windfall. It is certainly our thought that money that comes in should go towards addiction treatment, and mental health support and education programs rather than financing general revenue."