Canadian Cannabis Tax Could Yield $5B in Annual Revenue

Canadian Cannabis Tax Could Yield $5B in Annual Revenue

The Canadain government could yield as much as $5 billion per year in tax revenue from the sale of legal cannabis, according to a newly-released report.

The report, conducted and released by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), arrived at the final tally through an examination of both Canadians’ average rate of consumption of recreational cannabis and the revenue schemes enacted in the U.S. in states where cannabis is legal, such as Colorado and Washington.

“The bottom line is that the federal (and) provincial governments might reap as much as $5 billion from legalization, but only if all the underground sales are effectively curtailed,”

wrote Avery Shenfeld, an economist for the CIBC. “That’s on the order of 0.25 per cent of GDP, no barnburner.

“The desirability of increased marijuana tourism inflows will be questioned, no doubt, but they would generate additional fiscal revenues for government on their other tourist spending,”

he continued.

The Canadian government, headed by newly elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, has promised to legalize cannabis nationwide, and institute a tax and regulatory scheme following its legalization. Trudeau has insisted that the legalization of the product is not about increasing government revenue, but rather about an improvement of public health.

“It was never about a money-maker, it was always about public health, public safety,” Trudeau said in December.

The reduced costs of enforcing out-dated cannabis laws may also decrease government expenditures, according to Shenfeld. Considering that former Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair will aid in shaping the legal cannabis market in Canada, it will likely be designed to reduce costs for law enforcement.

Former Toronto Police Chief Leading Cannabis Legalization Efforts in Canada

Former Toronto Police Chief Leading Cannabis Legalization Efforts in Canada

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has appointed former Toronto police Chief Bill Blair to aid in the Liberal party’s efforts to reform the nation’s cannabis policy.

“We have pretty robust systems of regulation for other intoxicants in this country, mostly overseen by the provinces and so we’ve already got a model, a framework we can build on here,”

proclaimed Blair.

“I think there are certain modifications or adjustments that we may have to make for cannabis as opposed to alcohol, but I think there is already a strong system in place for the control and regulation [of marijuana].”

Blair, who has voiced support for the stance taken by Trudeau’s Liberal party in the past, was offered praise and support by Toronto’s current mayor, John Tory.

“Somebody like Bill Blair, who I think is an open-minded, thoughtful person and who has experience with marijuana from the other side when it has been illegal, will be very well-suited to dealing with it,” said Tory.

“I think this is a complicated and delicate matter in terms of the considerations that have to apply to ensure that kids don’t have access to it and it’s handled in the right kind of way.”

Liberal party politicians are likely to back the Trudeau government’s proposed overhauls. One Liberal politician, Premier Kathleen Wynne, reported recently that cannabis should be allowed to be sold legally in outlets provincially owned and regulated by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario.

The Liberal party has long argued that the country’s marijuana laws are ineffective as they lead to Canadians being forced to live with criminal records for possessing even small amounts of marijuana. According to the party platform, the consumption and use of cannabis will be removed from the nation’s criminal code so that regulations can be established to regulate retail sales, thereby eradicating the black market and preventing the sale of cannabis products to minors.

Photo credit: cp24.com

Colorado Hemp Farm Certified Organic by USDA

Colorado Hemp Farm Certified Organic by USDA

Federal regulators have given their seal of approval to a strain of organic hemp, currently being grown by a cannabis farm in Longmont, Colorado.

The farm, called CBDRx, obtained from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) a certification to market its goods with the USDA’s organic seal.

“We at CBDRx decided to challenge the norm and request USDA certification for our hemp,”

said Tim Gordon, a research team member of CBDRx. “And through some true passionate efforts we succeeded.”

There still exists a great deal of ambiguity around the endorsement, however. While the development represents a coup for proponents of expanded cannabis sale and distribution, it also presents legal uncertainty: The product being sold is hemp, which is defined as cannabis by federal law.

Yet the Farm Bill passed by Congress in 2014 regards some forms of cannabis — also known as “hemp” — that fall below a certain level of the psychoactive cannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), as legitimate and recognized crops.

This course of action causes legal friction since the Controlled Substances Act labels “cannabis” —and all of its colloquialisms— illegal. The Farm Act, while acknowledging this discrepancy, gave researchers and state departments the green light to research the product further.

“As long as the industrial hemp is grown according to the Farm Bill, it can be certified organic to the USDA National Organic Program,”

wrote Penelope Zuck, the manager of the USDA’s organic program accreditation.

D.C. Residents Press For Cannabis Rights

D.C. Residents Press For Cannabis Rights

Residents of Washington, D.C., are battling local and federal officials for the right to not only possess, cultivate, and use cannabis, but to legally purchase it from licensed distributors, following the passage of a ballot initiative last year.

The ballot initiative in question, Ballot Initiative 71, which decriminalized cannabis in the District, took effect 11 months ago. Yet the measure’s full enactment has been stymied by elected officials, both in Congress and in the D.C. government.

In late 2014, Congress passed the spending bill with a rider attached stipulating that the District was to spend no additional funds to “enact any law, rule, or regulation to legalize or otherwise reduce penalties” related to cannabis.

The administration of the District’s mayor, Muriel Bowser, fought to uphold what residents voted for — full legalization including the right to establish regulations for retail sales. However, after being threatened with jail time for willfully violating the law, should she continue to defend the enactment of Initiative 71, Bowser’s fight for the right to cannabis fizzled. Some say Bowser’s administration took the crackdown several steps further with the “Home Grow, Home Use” campaign, an interpretation at odds with that of many of the District’s residents and activists.

The administration also raised alarms about the unregulated sale of cannabis in the District, and pushed through the DC Council emergency legislation that banned all cannabis use outside of the home. The DC Council is said to be moving ahead with similar legislation that would make the ban permanent.

“District residents are fed up with congressional interference with local marijuana policy. D.C. lawmakers would be wise not to cede more control of local marijuana policy to Congress by approving the Mayor’s ban on marijuana consumption,”

said Kaitlyn Boecker, a policy associate at the Office of National Affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance.

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Study Correlates Cannabis-Smoking With Short-Term Memory Loss

Study Correlates Cannabis-Smoking With Short-Term Memory Loss

Frequent long-term cannabis smoking may have negative effects on a person’s verbal memory, a new study has found.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Lausanne, found that those who smoke cannabis daily over a period of five or more years had lower verbal memory — the ability to remember certain words — than those who did not smoke cannabis or smoked it less.

“We found a dose-dependent independent association between cumulative lifetime exposure to marijuana and worsening verbal memory in middle age,”

the authors of the study wrote.

Interestingly, the researchers observed that other areas of cognitive function, such as executive function or processing speed, appeared not to be affected by long-term cannabis use.

The study found the number of people who use cannabis daily was small. However, some drug policy experts have expressed concern that the loosening of cannabis laws — both on the state and federal level — could lead to a rise in use rates, and subsequently lead to more health problems.

The team of researchers examined data regarding the smoking habits of almost 3,400 Americans over a 25-year period. Following the study period, the test subjects submitted to a number of cognitive abilities tests. The tests included analyses on their memory and focus, among other areas.

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