Supervising the stoners: Egyptian tobacco traders call for the legalization of cannabis
By Shaimaa Elise
Published April 6th, 2015
Celeb stoner Bob Marley. The Tobacco Traders Association has called for a 10% tax on cannabis, which could potentially save EGP 4.2bn. (Image: Hippi.in)
The Cairo and Giza Tobacco Traders Association demanded a serious review of a proposal to legalise the hashish trade, submitted to the Legislative Reform committee headed by Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb.
Legalising such a trade could contribute quickly and effectively in decreasing the national budget deficit within a few years, compared to other economic methods, head of the Tobacco Traders Association Osama Salama said.
Salama added that the government should learn the psychological and scientific rule, which says “the forbidden is desirable…and the desirable is forbidden”. He said that if hashish is available, its demand will be reduced. At the same time, the government can impose taxes, and place controls and instructions on its trade.
“Through studying and analysing the declared official statistics for the hashish trade on the Egyptian street, we found that the size of the hashish trade annually is EGP 42bn,” Salama said. “The government spent more than EGP 1bn in combating the hashish trade and it fails by a rate of 85% and succeeds in 15% of seizure cases.”
Salama confirmed that legalising the hashish trade and imposing a 10% tax will save EGP 4.2bn for the national economy in the case of a non-increase in local consumption.
During the next 10 years, the government can impose 50% tax on this trade through a long-term strategy to control this trade and its taxes, according to Salama.
Salama noted that there are currently 40 million to 45 million drug users in Egypt, besides foreign users who live in Egypt. He pointed out that this proposal will put responsibility on the Ministries of Health, Supply, Agriculture, Interior and certainly the Ministry of Finance, to regulate trade and use of the drug.
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