Friday, December 19, 2008

The audacity of dope (yes we can)

Here’s an idea, with the economy about to be hit hard, with up to 180 000 unemployed, soaring prison populations, dropping tourism and self mutilating our ‘clean green’ image, I think it’s time we legalized marijuana.

Think about it, a café system similar to Amsterdam, you have to pay a license to grow it commercially and you would need a license to sell it in a cafe. Where it could be sold would be tightly controlled and whom could sell it would also be tightly monitored, not only would we create a massive cash crop over night, we would stop sending weed growers and smokers to prison, saving us money and space.

Drug tourism would suddenly prop up our tourism industry and seeing as Key looks half baked most of the time, he will be the perfect front man as Minister of Tourism.

Legalizing would also make our ‘clean, green’ image more believable and the revenue would boost desperately depleted government coffers. Money could be put aside for chronic users and host responsibility would apply to being too stoned as much as it does to being too drunk. Advertising restrictions akin to tobacco regulations and extra services for that percentage of the population who are predisposed to mental health issues would also be funded with the focus on harm minimization rather than throwing people in prison.

So we decriminalize a vast swath of the population, we save them from having to go to jail, we make it illegal to sell without a license and put huge fines in place to make growers comply within the legal framework and we boost tourism numbers in one fell move.

Can we do it?

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