Making cannabis legal could balance the budget without needing to cut thousands of jobs and crucial services. Australian researchers came up with a “credible estimate” that, if converted to NZ’s population, would see $2.8 billion in additional tax revenue raised with a 20 per cent sales tax. This is tax revenue currently lost to the illicit economy and organised crime – which could fund frontline services such as extra police, better schooling, and cancer drugs not funded by Pharmac.

This was first published on The Daily Blog and discussed on 95bFM’s Marijuana Media with Chris Fowlie from NORML and Milly from bFM Drive – thanks to The Hempstore!

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The Conversation: Aussie researchers say legal cannabis needs to be cheap

“Otherwise, legalisation might not deny profits to organised crime – or deliver a substantial tax windfall – after all.”

They estimate daily and weekly cannabis users account for 98% of consumption of the market, estimated 441 tonnes, even though they are just 36% of cannabis users.

“To reduce illegal trade, a new legal market must attract these users”. Daily or weekly users typically buy in bulk and pay cheaper rates per gram. If cannabis is sold at an excessively taxed rate, those consumers will stick with unlicensed suppliers.

The researchers’ new “credible estimate” is A$13 billion tax revenue, with prices based on A$300 ounces and 20% tax.

Adjusting this estimate for New Zealand is NZ$2.8 billion tax revenue on an estimated 87 tonnes.

Balance the books with legal cannabis

That “credible estimate” shows legal cannabis could fund the budget deficit and negate the public sector layoffs.

Our Prime Minister and Minister of Finance are looking for $1.5 billion to fund their tax cuts and other policies. They’re doing it through austerity and firing thousands of workers. But legal cannabis would raise almost twice that!

Legal cannabis is also associated with safer roads. A new analysis shows fewer young adults driving impaired following cannabis legalisation. According to data published in the journal Prevention Science, the legalisation of marijuana in Washington state was not associated with any uptick in the percentage of young people driving under the influence of either cannabis or alcohol.

National’s new fact-free approach to drug driving ignores the evidence and won’t detect impaired drivers. Their continued adherence to prohibitionist ideals is a lost opportunity to make New Zealand safer while also balancing the books without needing to fire thousands of skilled and valued public sector employees.

Legalise cannabis to save your job!

Read the full story at The Daily Blog:

Testing times for drivers: National’s new drug-driving law won’t detect impaired drivers & could see innocents prosecuted | The Daily Blog

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Related: campaign materials from the 2020 cannabis referendum