Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Tory government serious about boosting tax revenues and making communities safer? Time to legalise weed?

California could make legal history this autumn when citizens vote on  a referendum on ending the prohibition of marijuana and taxing and regulating it, just as the state does with alcohol and nicotine.

I hope Proposition 19 gets the majority support it needs to make the US state one of the first developed economies in the world to recognise that legalisation would boost tax revenues - and make communities safer by removing the criminal underworld from the supply chain.

We keep hearing how our new Tory Government wants to achieve the same ends: boosting tax revenues, cutting spending on policing and improving community safety all at the same time. Well if it's serious, isn't it time we considered doing exactly the same thing here?

The more I thinnk about this one, and talk to others about it, the more perplexing it all seems that it hasn't been done years ago.

Of course smoking weed has its down side, just as alcohol and nicotine do, but most of its negative impacts would be eliminated by better regulation - and taking criminal gangs out of the picture.

The only reason I can think of for not doing so is that many of the legislators at the top of the decision-making tree are benefiting enormously from keeping things exactly the way they are. Can that really be so?

And while you're pondering that one, here's a fantastic cartoon contrasting a world in which cannabis is legal with one (the one we live in) where it isn't.

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