Marijuana should only be legalized under a tax free market. Currently, the Ontario government collects nearly 14 cents per cigarette sold in taxes. If Marijuana was legalized it is safe to assume that a similar level of sales tax would apply. This could likely boost the legitimate economy however, would railroad the underground market.
The benefits of an underground market can serve people of oppression and impoverishment as a means of survival. In theory, a single mother or young person with little education or skills may choose to deal small amounts of pot to make ends meet. The same theory could be applied to prostitution which is legal in Ontario but revenues earned by sex trade workers are not taxed.
Taxing the sale of marijuana would still leave a vulnerable sector of people breaking the law. If Marijuana was legalized the illegal distribution may be treated similarly to tobacco. In Canada, the maximum imprisonment for illegal distribution of tobacco is five years or 18 months for a summary conviction.
Fines in Ontario range from $100 to $10,000 and you may be jailed up to 2 years for a first offence. In contrast, fines for the distribution small amounts of marijuana in Canada currently stand at up to a $1,000 fine and penalties are only up to six months jail time. Penalties in Canada only become serious for the distribution of marijuana in large amounts.
The conclusion, the government does not hesitate to punish those whom impede on tax revenue even on a low scale. The legalization of marijuana would be leaving a vulnerable section of people at an even higher risk then if marijuana remains criminalized. Therefore, marijuana should only be legalized if under a tax free market. The legalization of marijuana under a tax free market would protect vulnerable people who sell pot. They could continue to use the sale as a means of survival without being at risk of jail time or further impoverishment.
The Canadian economy could benefit from the tax free sale of marijuana as an alternative career choice because it would balance some of the need for social welfare in addition to reducing the amount of prisoners housed by the tax payer’s dollar. Legalizing marijuana in a tax free market would also eliminate the risk of violence against a vulnerable sector of people from other citizens and law enforcement.
~ Caceila Trahan , Youth Outreach Worker & Poverty Activist , Sudbury Ontario