|Both the red and green political camps have refused to take a definitive stance on the issue of legalizing marijuana for adult use, despite significant public pressure in favor of legalization.
With many public servants being known for indulging in recreational cannabis use, its continued prohibition is Government’s way of saying: do as I say, not do as I do. With New Zealand’s referendum on the legalization of marijuana fast looming, former Prime Minister Helen Clark has become quite vocal on the topic, saying she wants the referendum to pass because it would end the prohibition on the popular drug so that citizens do not have to get their supply from "tinny houses". She has stated forcefully that older politicians who are calling for prohibition are typically Boomers who hypocritically used the drug themselves in their university days. She added that the reason it became illegal in the first place, while tobacco and alcohol did not, was because the latter were in widespread use in "powerful Western societies", while cannabis was more popular in other parts of the world.
Clark also stated, "I’ve been around long enough to know that when you say to young people: ‘don’t do it’, they do it. That’s the nature of youth…People are going to use this stuff…It’s not like this is some wild, crazy thing to do. A lot of Countries have worked out …that trying to prohibit the use of something up to 80 percent of New Zealanders will try in their lifetimes is pretty ridiculous…So it’s better to deal with this on its merits, on the evidence, recognize that as a drug it’s immensely less dangerous to your health than tobacco smoking is, and less dangerous to both your health and society than alcohol is, and put some rules around it…legalize and regulate. Put rules around it, take it out of the black market and deal with the responsibility as a state."
With our tourism industry in tatters and our main tourism source markets flat-lining as a result of COVID-19, Seychelles is in dire need of some re-branding, or at the very least a hook, to attract tourists to our shores once more. Marijuana tourism is an untapped market for Seychelles, with many tourists flocking to destinations considered to be "weed friendly".
Our presently struggling economy can stand to benefit from all the money moving from the black market into the formal system, thereby allowing the Government to collect tax revenues from the industry. Tax revenue from marijuana tourism could be used to fund vital infrastructure improvements, including roads, water, schools, hospitals and healthcare facilities.
In 2015, three years after Colorado legalized recreational marijuana, the Colorado Tourism Office conducted a survey that revealed almost 50 percent of visitors to the state were influenced by the availability of marijuana. Colorado has reportedly seen increases in tourism spending years over year since legalization, and continued to see massive increases in consumer spending as well.
The only way to progress is through innovation and fresh approaches to governance. With our economy in its present state, the time for playing it safe and being too afraid to rock the boat has long passed. Half the population has been crying out for "change" for years.
Real change is what we are offering. If you want more of the same, then continue to vote red or green, because old ways will never open new doors. Both leaders of the rival camps have had years to prove their worth. They have failed.
Make 2020 the year for REAL CHANGE. Cast a vote for the new, and not the old.
Cast a vote for One Seychelles.