Article by Solomon Israel, CBC News
With Canada poised to legalize weed in 2017, CBC News reporter Solomon Israel went to Denver to see how the fledgling pot industry there has affected where people live, their health concerns and how it shapes public spending.
From a fiscal perspective, legalizing pot seems like a win-win scenario for cities. In theory, marijuana sales tax revenue can fill gaps in the budget, while police and prosecutors spend less time and money going after residents for marijuana possession.
But Toronto city council might want to hold off on planning a spending spree — because legal marijuana costs money, too.
In Denver, the capital of a state where recreational pot sales have been legal for almost three years, much of the tax revenue from marijuana gets spent regulating the very industry that generated it.
“There will be people that will tell you that all this tax revenue is going to fix all your city’s problems, and that’s simply not the case,” says Dan Rowland, who manages communications for Denver’s Office of Marijuana Policy.
“It’s really important to have that dedicated [revenue] stream to go into implementing this the right way so that people’s quality of life isn’t affected.”