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Legalizing Recreational Pot: Windfall of Cash?

Legalizing recreational pot in Canada could generate sales of up to $4.3 billion in its first year, according to an analysis by the financial consulting firm Deloitte, so imagine what would happen in the U.S., which has 10 times the population -- and just imagine the tax windfall to governments if they were smart.

According to this report from CNN, the Canadian Senate is considering legislation in Ottawa that would legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Adults could then purchase up to 30 grams from distributors licensed by the federal government.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau supports the proposal, saying it would make it harder for young people to access the drug. Trudeau, recognizing that the current system in Canada is not working, said proponents there are "looking at the best way to ensure that we are eliminating the criminal elements from the sale of marijuana."

That's just another example of the forward looking, sensible thinking that is typical of Trudeau, as compared to the archaic thinking of his counterpart in the U.S., Donald Trump, whose attorney general, Jeff Sessions, has tried to fight legalized recreational pot every step of the way. Sessions even opposes medical marijuana, despite strong support among the populace -- even in many Bible Belt states.

"Good people don't smoke marijuana," Session said after Trump picked him for the job.

Thanks, Mr. Attorney General

But according to this article from USA Today, advocates say Sessions may have been the best thing that could happen in their battle for legalization.

Now 29 states have legalized medical marijuana and increasing numbers have legalized adult use of pot. Congress, however, has not done so and efforts to remove marijuana from the schedule of controlled substances have failed.

But when Sessions rescinded an Obama Justice Department memo that was issued in 2013 limiting situations in which prosecutors could enforce federal criminal pot laws in states that had legalized it, other states began to move forward. Vermont legalized weed and Albuquerque, Savannah, and Baton Rouge are decriminalizing it.

The move by Sessions also appears to have galvanized politicians. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced last month he would introduce legislation to remove marijuana from the list of controlled substances, leaving it up to states to decide what to do.

Moreover, increasing numbers of members of Congress are sponsoring the Marijuana Justice Act, introduced by Sen. Cory Booker (D=NJ). That bill would legalize marijuana and allow those convicted of possession to clear their records, plus reinvest proceeds in local communities.

Trump and Sessions should rethink their positions and allow this new industry to flourish. A new industry would be born if unhampered by federal law, billions would be pumped into the economy, and many new jobs created. Plus, a tax collection windfall would result, which just maybe could be invested in our public schools.

Then, teachers wouldn't have to strike trying to make a decent salary and obtain money for school supplies.

What a novel idea.

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