Dr. Evan Wood, chairman of Inner City Medicine at the University of British Columbia, suggested a complete reversal of traditional thinking about marijuana, The (Vancouver) Province reported.
"Governments in North America have now spent $1 trillion on the war on drugs, but young people have easier access to marijuana than tobacco or alcohol," he said.
His study said by legalizing and taxing marijuana, governments would gain a major revenue source to educate about the hazards of its use.
A 2010 survey by Health Canada said some 366,000 people in British Columbia are marijuana users, but Wood said that's likely a major under-representation as poll respondents tend to shy away from telling the truth about illegal activities.
"In The Netherlands and Portugal, where it is now essentially legal, marijuana use has actually gone down," he said. "The reality is that most people who are curious about pot have already tried it, and most of them don't like it."