Photo cred - hightimes.com
The Quebec government needs to do something about its finances. Ideas have ranged from liberal politician Lucienne Robillard’s proposal to cut $3.2 billion in spending to the pilot project keeping bars open until 6 am (which I’ll be writing on more extensively later in the week), but nothing has been successful thus far.
Luckily, Colorado has a solution. As High Times reports, the state has collected $50 million in tax revenue from recreational pot in the year since its legalization. The state constitution limits how much money the government can collect before it has to give money back to taxpayers; accordingly, citizens of the state very well may soon be collecting portions of the excess cash. Some generous taxpayers are even suggesting that they’d prefer to put the money into the public school system, and state officials are currently in the process of figuring out if there’s a way to hold on to the money and use it in a way that would satisfy the populace.
While Quebec’s public schools could certainly benefit from such an injection of cash, the general trend of the federal government has been to oppose legal pot, regardless of its benefits. As recently as December, Conservatives were attempting to overturn an injunction that allowed patients to grow their own weed. Luckily, the Federal Court of Appeal upheld the law, and the over 10,000 Canadian patients who benefited from the legality of medical pot were allowed to continue to do so, according to the CBC. Harper and his cronies were foiled, and medicinal marijuana continued to be sold around the country for as much as $15 a gram. Last year alone, over 1,400 kilos of taxed bud were were sold. As many have noted, the injunction was merely directing traffic towards the black market rather than outright restricting the flow of weed: the Canadian government wasn’t stopping the sale of drugs around the country; they were just preventing themselves from profiting from it.
Still, I see no reason why Quebec should have to limit themselves to profits from patients—the non-medicinal users should be allowed to inject money into the government as well. Given Montreal’s party culture, it’s not hard to imagine legal dispensaries along St. Laurent or St. Denis thriving amongst partiers for whom alcohol won’t quite cut it. La Banquise does pretty well as it is: just consider how long the lines would be (and how late they’d last) if they could add a rash of government approved stoners to their already populous clientele.
Not only that, but Montreal could add yet another line to its resume as a quasi-European nightlife experience for North Americans who don’t want to leave their continent. Sure, Toronto has money, but could it really compete with our city’s killer cultural scene? Las Vegas has tons of gambling and hookers, but could it ever hope to match our French-speaking charm? In short, Montreal has all the ingredients it needs to dominate North American nightlife, and adding legal pot to the equation would ensure that it could own the “party city” mantle that it’s long felt destined to (and, once upon a time, did) rightfully possess.
Between the cultural capital, increase of government funds, and overall happiness of the population, it seems like a no-brainer for the Quebec government to legalize weed. As Colorado proved, it’s a surefire method for economic success, and that’s the sort of thing that Montrealers could definitely use these days. Let’s learn a lesson from our not-too-distant neighbours down south and stop preventing our city from recognizing its full potential.