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South Australia Should Become The First State To Legalize Recreational Cannabis

Ron Strider

Well-Known Member
While the focus of the cannabis debate in South Australia has been on legalizing it for medical uses, the real job and investment creation opportunity lies in building a recreational cannabis industry.

There are now nine states in the US, including California, where cannabis for recreational and medical use is legal. And Canada is to follow suit next year.

The experience of the jurisdictions that have allowed for legal cannabis has been marked by employment growth, investment, tax revenues flowing to government and perhaps most importantly, declining crime rates. Instead of fighting a futile "war" against cannabis use, SA should look to be the first Australian jurisdiction to follow the US and Canadian lead.

Some of the US experiences are worth highlighting. Cannabis dealers are strictly licensed and tax revenues are generated from sales. In Colorado, tax revenues for 2015-16 exceeded forecasts by $50 million.

In Washington, state tax revenues exceeded $250 million while in Oregon $5 million is being generated in tax each month, double the official forecast.

The employment growth generated by legal cannabis in the US is providing comfort as hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs disappear. Forbes recently reported legal cannabis employment is set to rise by 300,000 between now and 2020.

In Canada, where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is championing legal cannabis, one of the major selling points is jobs and investment growth for cash-strapped provinces.

The reduction in crime that comes from legalizing cannabis is one of the most fascinating outcomes for those jurisdictions in the US which have trodden this path over the past five years.

In Washington state the legalization of recreational marijuana has been credited with a significant reduction of rapes and thefts and the reduction of the consumption of other drugs and binge alcohol drinking.

In Denver, Colorado, property crime has been down since the introduction of legalized cannabis. Of course there is also the fact that, as Mexican drug bosses who supply the Californian market are finding out, legal cannabis undermines the black market. In July this year researchers from the University of California, found that legal cannabis dispensaries actually reduce crime in their areas, not increase it.

Cannabis is a fact of life in South Australia. According to the latest data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, released last month, one in 10 South Australians reported recently using it.

It can also be an income and employment generator for a state that needs both in spades.


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New Member
South Australia and Victoria (nieghbouring State) have suffered from a down turn in manufacturing jobs, especially in the car and power sectors. Its not just the closure of factories and power stations, but the associated industries and trickle down into local communities (people spending money in local stores and the like) that are hitting the States hard. I live near the mines and power stations in Victoria, they recently closed a power station here and it has gutted the local economy. The legalisation of recreational cannabis would create 1000's of jobs and generate much needed tax dollars. I am unable to work in a conventional job because of several issues (Chronic Regional Pain and PTSD) but I could definetley work growing cannabis as I could work when I was able to - giving jobs to people like me would save the Government a fortune, both in payments in welfare and by allowing me to grow my own medications. We need to look at all the positives and see the difference a plant could make, it could really make to everyone, not just the people who use it.
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