I agree in saying the politicians need some backbone in making an economic case for legalising marijuana and stop acting off the basis of other nations.
Pot’s not as harmful as legal substances like alcohol or cigarettes.
Deadly street/gang violence stems from marijuana’s illegality.
The youth disparity in marijuana arrests amounts to jobs discrimination.
Marijuana has scientifically proven medicinal benefits.
Lives can be ruined by just one minor pot arrest.
But money, more than moral appeals or anything else, might talk the loudest in the drive to decriminalise marijuana in Jamaica, particularly in the current era of budget shortfalls and lingering economic uncertainty.
And with financial concerns helping to fuel the passage of historic pot legalisation laws, like in Colorado and Washington State in November, as well as the introduction of a Bill in the US House of Representatives, would legalise and levy an excise tax on the sale of the drug, perhaps now is a better time than ever to convince skeptical politicians in Jamaica of the cash benefits of getting into the marijuana business.
The economic argument, at the end of the day, will probably be the most effective in changing this terrible policy Jamaica has had in place for too long.
In Washington, despite 75 years of federal marijuana prohibition, the Justice Department said on Thursday that states can let people use the drug, license people to grow it, and even allow adults to stroll into stores and buy it as long as the weed is kept away from kids, the black market and federal property.
The policy change embraces what Justice Department officials call a “trust, but verify” approach between the federal government and states that enact recreational marijuana use.
The fact that legalisation of marijuana would generate a fiscal dividend does not, by itself, make it a better policy than prohibition. Legalisation could have many effects, and opinions differ on whether these are desirable.
Both sides in this debate, however, should want to know the order of magnitude of fiscal benefit that might arise from legalisation.
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