Look around and you’ll notice the era of reefer madness is dying a slow death all over the country. Last week, Colorado and Washington became the first two states to to officially legalize it, as Peter Tosh might say. And yesterday Reason.com, somewhat fittingly, broke the story that RI state Rep. Edith Ajello plans to reintroduce a bill that would legalize and regulate marijuana much like alcohol. Maine is considering doing so too.
This is how we would get people from Massachusetts and Connecticut (and further afield) to come here and spend money. People will not be driving past much better casinos in their home states to come to our little joke of a casino in the woods of Lincoln. And unlike gambling addiction and the toll it can take on families and communities, smoking pot doesn’t really hurt anyone else and we all know massive amounts of people are doing it, legal or not.
So, legalize it, tax it, allow for a number of Amsterdam style cafes to allow for the consumption of it (is consumption the right word?). I’ve long said that Providence should position itself as the Amsterdam of New England. We should be the ones to fully shed the Puritanical guilt that pervades the region and embrace ‘sin.’
Follow the link to RI Future to view a short video interview with State Rep. Edith Ajello.