In fact, so much, so-called ”B.C. bud” is harvested illegally in the province, with police efforts to stem the growth almost totally futile, study author Steve Easton says that the time has come to legalize, regulate and allow governments to tax marijuana.
“Police resources should be deployed elsewhere,” the Simon Fraser University economics professor contended Tuesday.
“Marijuana is too easily produced . . . and the return on investment sufficiently great that for each grow-up demolished, another takes its place. There is a perpetual, lasting supply of people willing to do it [grow marijuana].”
If Prof. Easton’s $7-billion estimate of the annual worth of cannabis cigarettes produced in B.C. is correct, marijuana has become one of the most valuable commodities in the province.
It would trail only forestry, which contributes about $8.9-billion annually to the provincial economy. The latest figures for tourism indicate a $5-billion economic contribution, while construction accounts for $5.3-billion.
Prof. Easton’s report estimates there are as many as 17,500 marijuana grow-ops in the province.
This article notes the economic returns that even a modest grow-op can reap, but if anything the study may underestimate how important this commodity is to BC’s economic well-being. Grow-ops are one of the few sources of revenue for many of the Province’s smaller communities, which have been hammered by the collapse of forestry, fishing and other resource-based industries — not to mention steep cuts in government program funds.
If some horrific biological agent were to wipe out THC-producing plants, the effects would make our presently flaccid Provincial economy look like nirvana.