Dear Jorge and friends,
I am very happy for you and for the people of Portugal. Your progress is a heartening example of national intelligence, directing courage and reason in leadership. Thank you for keeping us in the light of your process & changes.
For whatever it may be worth, I suspect that by anticipating the effects of liberalizing Portugal's marijuana laws, projected benefits can add momentum to the shift. In particular, the legalization of marijuana for personal use in Portugal could be extend to visitors, allowing for Cannabis tourism, if new policy is made with such freedom in mind. I believe this would be good for Portugal and good for the rest of the EU.
Cannabis tourists are typically a peaceful, voracious bunch, given to much dancing. All this is good for local restaurants, music events, etc. I'd be interested to see research on how much more food people eat -- and the percent increase in restaurant bills -- when stoned. I'd guess it's at least 10%.
Legal Cannabis production contributes to local economies whether it's taxed or not. People earning money in Cannabis-related industries inevitably spend money in the regions where they live. Not taxing Cannabis would keep the price of it down, and eliminate a huge tax-related bureaucracy, of the kind that California presently seems to be stumbling toward.
Imbalances created by national extremes in prohibition policies is not a healthy one. Perhaps Portugal will recognize the opportunity in taking some of the pressure off of Holland, currently the destination of choice for people who appreciate the peaceful absence of a "drug war" around Cannabis.
The people of Portugal are encouraged to support as liberal and tolerant a policy as possible for both marijuana and industrial hemp. The rest of the EU is encouraged to support the change.
PS. Tune-in to BlogTalkRadio to hear "The Final Argument" for ending Cannabis prohibition:
"Cannabis agriculture vs. Climate Change"
presented by the California Cannabis Ministry
Saturday, July 4th, 2009
9-10am, Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) = GMT+7
so 4-5pm GMT
Listener dial-in number: (347) 202-0195
Perhaps BlogTalkRadio would be an efficient way for ENCOD and others on this list to communicate and possibly raise financial support. Anyone interested in sponsoring (or calling in) to Saturday's program is invited to participate.