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Terrific stuff. I couldn't agree more with your point on cannabis regulation - it's #3 on my Eight Policy Proposals I'd Like to See.

Marina Adshade (a former classmate with me and Andrew Leach) made a similar argument to yours, but in the context of sexual assault.

Mike, Easton estimates the potential revenue from marijuana taxation at $2 billion in 2004, IIRC. The Green party platform puts it at closer to 1 or 1.5 billion. Do you know how the Green party arrived at their numbers?

I'm not sure. I still have a few contacts at the GPC head office - I'll ask.

One possibility: Vision Green suggests taxing marijuana in the same $ proportion as tobacco. The B.C. figures from here suggest that for tobacco, for every $1 in manufacturer cost/markup, there's $3 of tax placed on tobacco.

The Fraser Institute figures suggest for every $1.50 in manufacturer cost/markup, there should be a $7 tax placed (for a ratio of $1 to $4.7).

That may be the difference there - the GPC is assuming a lower tax rate.

This argument isn't exactly new, it's the same one that has been used to promote the construction of youth recreation centers. Maybe the CPC introduce a "videogames for troubled youth" tax credit?

Drrrrt: "This argument isn't exactly new, it's the same one that has been used to promote the construction of youth recreation centers"

What's new is the evidence that the strategy is actually effective. By comparison, the first hit I found on google scholar was this Swedish study on the effectiveness of youth recreation centres:

"Boys with a multiple problem profile of both social and academic problems in school at age 10 showed more frequent participation in recreation centres at age 13. The frequency of criminal offending increased for all configurations of boys who became involved in a recreation centre."

The first half of this sounds an awful lot like Clinton's midnight basketball.

Hmm ... no time to read the the study just now but off the cuff I'd say the problem with the rec centre is that it doesn't incapacitate but rather becomes headquarter and increases interactions between the miscreants and their followers. Movies and video games take you out of action for a while, but they also limit social interactions. Hard to plan a break and enter when you're busy playing a video game.

Being on the left of the political spectrum, I'd prefer that the gov't distribute video game consoles and marijuana. Means tested, of course ;)

Oh Patrick - I know you were joking, but the obsession with means testing every program drives me crazy! Universal programs work so much better in the real world's political economy. Why is the Canadian left so enamored with the state?

I have to agree that the social harm of cannabis criminalization does appear to exceed the benefits. I know that the analogy with the prohibition of alcohol is not exact, but there does seem to be a wide consensus that criminalizing alcohol caused more social harm (through violent crime and tainted alcohol) than taxation/regulation of alcohol.

I wish that these ideas would get a wider audience . . .

Michael - People motivated to get into politics would generally believe that the state can help them achieve the ends they wish. I'd say the right is just as enamored of the state as the left. They just want to use it for different ends.

I've never smoked Pot but most of my friends have. What gets me about marijuana is the theft aspect.

I had science teacher in high school who had a hobby farm. He raised corn and of course like every other farmer who does that he would come across a pot patch when harvesting it. The height of the disguises the pot and the grower clears out some of the corn and plants his illegal crop. So my science teacher, like all farmers, had to stop harvesting, call the OPP, report his find and wait for the OPP to come and take away the pot. They hack it down with machetes.

Trouble is the farmer is now out a half-day's worth of work and a lost portion of his corn crop. It's theft, pure and simple.

Plus some of those gangs can set booby traps which is just dangerous.

That has more to do with prohibition than with pot. You'd have the same thing happening if coffee were illegal.

Advising the Conservative Party of Canada to champion marijuana de-criminalization? HAHAhaHAHAhaHAHAHaHAhAhaHAhahAhahaHAhAHAHAAAHHAhaAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. You must be smoking something a lot more powerful then cannabis.

Good comments - I don't have a lot to add.

I'm down a couple hundred since no grain (as the kids call it says commercial) at 7-11, and as much trying to find a surrogate; my poor kidneys. That's about two months of savings at min wage. Young male can't get welfare in some/all provinces. I don't believe in EI. Not because it is disincentive to not be prdouctive, but becuase it is akin to no Unions. I worked my day off sending Xmas cards. Handled biohazards and had employer believe mentally ill customers over me. I'm not a bitch.
But there is a prison bed @ $80000/yr waiting for me. Without a contact number I might be spreading AIDS in theory, but have prison guards instead of another hospital secretary checking an answering machine. You need a friend to get a health card. Some legal drugs would help me if I had a doctor, but I paid for judges and lawyers the 3rd last time oregano was cut. I use to be benevolent, like mentally ill use/abuse to selftreat. Where unhealthy substances this is bad, when not too bad or not doc, is good. Fukushima radiation spread worldwide so quick. I don't want to weigh bioterror as a green shift II, sober.

...$600 inflation adjusted would've meant a lot to Chretein's parents. Not to Harper's.

Some of the posts here are nearly totally incoherent. Is this spam or something?

Question: Do we know for certain that there is a causal link between increased video game availability and decreased instances of crime? One possible alternative that I can think of is that the increasing availability of video games reflects improving economic conditions in an area, which in turn increases the opportunity cost of crime. Perhaps the study controls for this?

Andrew F: "Some of the posts here are nearly totally incoherent. Is this spam...?" I wasn't sure if these were spam posts, or contributions by a heavy marijuana user, so I left them.

Alex Hoopes "Do we know for certain that there is a causal link...?" No. The study does control for per capita incomes, and tries various leads and lags, but I suspect some of what they're picking up might well by reduced crime causing increased video store openings. On the other hand, the relationship between violent movies and crime is almost certainly causal, as these are looking at daily crime stats and daily movie attendances. It's also consistent with studies that look at the impact of increased television availability on various outcomes. And if you just do a simply analysis of internet availability and crime over time for Canada there's a fairly strong inverse relationship - but again that might just be spurious correlation.

Why not just add some mood-calming chemicals to the water supply? Much simpler.

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