Candidate suggests legalization of Marijuana

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    I read in the international news that one of the candidates running in the upcoming elections is suggesting that Marijuana is legalised.

    My questions is whether there is agreement with this posture and how might it be received by the voting population.

    This seems to be the lastest trend, largely followed by the USA, whose government’s have historically treated this herb like sin itself, before it’s almost weird about-face on the matter.

    Are there any arguments for an economic case? Would a medical slant be the strongest approach to legitimise this potentially novel approach?

    Let me hear a VI homegrown voice please and thanks.

    Biko McMillan

    I may not be able to speak on the economic aspects of this, but maybe I can speak on others. I’m fairly certain that most people in the Virgin Islands would not see an issue with legalizing marijuana. What many of us might see as an issue is prioritizing the legalization of marijuana over almost literally anything else. As for the angle that this should be approached at, maybe strategically, the medical route might be best. However, eventually, it needs to be recognized that marijuana has no business being classified as a Schedule I drug. It also needs to be recognized that while it may not be as dangerous as those against it perceive it as, there is no way that THC or CBD containing marijuana isn’t a drug. Proponents of it use tote the explanation that it is a plant, so it cannot be a drug; that is categorically false.
    Legalization in the territory would likely cause more good than harm. It would help stimulate the economy by creating jobs and attracting tourists. So personally, I say we should go for it, but I know that there are people in the places that matter who don’t agree.

    Sydney Paul

    I believe the legalization of Cannabis would economically benefit the Territory whether through the medical route, recreationally–definitely both. I think that most of the population would be on board…especially after the vote we had on the 2014 election ballot. So, the conversation I have begun having with people is not whether it should be legalized but how we should structure the operation of the industry here, especially to allow those who have been marginalized and criminalized in our community for using it to participate in the process.

    In states with legalized recreational use, a Cannabis business license costs thousands of dollars. And that doesn’t even get into the details of growers versus distributors, versus medical dispensaries, etc… all costing thousands of dollars to maintain every year. Yes, of course, in this practically billion-dollar industry make a few thousand dollars to maintain your license every year doesn’t sound like a big deal, but I’m concerned about start-up costs for locals. My concern, given the structures that we will most likely mirror from the states, is that the economic benefit would only reach those who can afford to opt into the system.

    What happens to our young men who can’t afford to get a license or are not qualified because they have a criminal record for selling the same thing? Do we restrict the number of licenses allowed to operate given the size of our population? Can our market become too saturated? Where do our young locals fit into this puzzle where they can be equal partners in the “gold rush” that follows legalization?

    I think that we all benefit from legalization only when those questions, in particular, are answered…BEFORE the system is open for business.

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