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A cost-benefit analysis of BC gang warfare

British Columbia is alarmed about the number of violent deaths stemming from current gang wars in the lower mainland. Premier Gordon Campbell has said the level of violence is unacceptable.

Most or all of these deaths are due to the marijuana industry, which now, according to one reliable source, creates 5 percent of the B.C. gross domestic product, employing 150,000 British Columbians.

Marijuana, most of it exported to the United States, generates $6 billion a year in wealth. By comparison, B.C. forestry and logging totalled $2.96 billion in 2007.

Sixteen persons died in the forestry/logging industry in 2007, which means the industry generated $185,062,500 per death.

By contrast, the marijuana industry in 2008 seems to have endured 58 deaths directly or indirectly related to the trade.

That would mean that in 2008 B.C. suffered one death for every $103,448,275 worth of dope produced, sold, and smoked.

While this makes marijuana a far more hazardous industry than forestry and logging, producers and consumers of both industries’ products are evidently happy to pay the price.

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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