Taxing sales can fund education, NMMU lecturer tells Guy Rogers
Hundreds of millions of rand could be raised by taxing marijuana and deploying it to solve the university fees crisis. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
The man behind the innovative idea, Port Elizabeth resident David Pittaway, said the aim would be to tax marijuana in the same way as cigarettes and alcohol.
The model is already being successfully rolled out in the US.
Five states have legalised recreational use of cannabis, most recently California this month.
And last year in Colorado alone, according to Time Magazine, $2.39-billion (R33.4-billion) and 18 000 jobs were generated by taxing cannabis.
Pittaway, a full-time permaculture practitioner and part-time NMMU philosophy lecturer completing his philosophy PhD, said he felt strongly that the South African word “dagga” had become a pejorative word.
“Based on global trends, the use of the words ‘marijuana’ and ‘cannabis’ are far more useful in considering the growing acceptance of the positive effects of legalisation of the plant, its medical and industrial uses, and the tax revenue generated via its presence in society,” he said.
The funds accrued from this new tax could be hugely useful, he said.
“It could easily solve the funding issues brought to the fore during the #FeesMustFall protests.
“And with the marijuana legalised for medicinal and recreational use, the plant’s availability could also be capitalised on through various other projects in community empowerment, eco-tourism, alternative building materials, foods and textiles. That this door has not yet been opened is criminal.”
The move to legalise cannabis seems to be on the upswing globally with 28 countries, from Belgium to Uruguay, having taken this step, according to the New York-based Drug Policy Alliance.
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