Luke's Gospel: Legalizing marijuana will fix the economy

Uncle Luke, the man whose booty-shaking madness once made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times. Up this week, Luke makes the case for legalizing marijuana across the nation, beginning in Miami-Dade County.

Off the bat, I am not a weed head. I don't burn blunts, and I don't hit the vaporizer. Never ate a pot brownie or any other ganja-flavored food. The first time I smoked a joint, I was probably 16 years old, when I was attending Miami Beach Senior High School. I didn't particularly like it. I didn't like the fact that I would just be sitting there stoned. I want to feel alert. But I believe legalizing marijuana would help the economic problems in this country, especially South Florida.

You have to look at it from a business standpoint. Miami is already a gateway for drug smuggling. Back in the '80s, it was drug money that stimulated the local economy. Drug money is what built up Miami's real estate market. We don't have any major industries, but we definitely have the infrastructure and the people needed to capitalize on marijuana in place. You already have marijuana coming through the Port of Miami from Jamaica and the islands. And then you have the locally grown weed. Last year, cops found more than 1,000 grow houses in the state, a spike of 50 percent since 2006. Pretty soon, we'll have more people growing marijuana trees than folks growing avocado and orange trees.

But now the state legislature is cracking down on marijuana with a bill that would make it harder for head shops to stay in business. Florida's elected leaders need to figure out fast that prohibition of marijuana is not working. So why not make money off it? Florida would become the richest state in the union.

The city and the state can tax growers and charge fees to obtain licenses to open marijuana coffee bars like they have in Amsterdam. You would have spots where you can walk in and buy weed from California, Hawaii, Jamaica, or even Haiti. They wouldn't need any more donations to help the rebuilding effort.

We would be creating new jobs at the Port of Miami and all over the county. Legalizing marijuana would also boost the tourism industry because more people would come to Miami to bake under the sun while getting baked on our local kush. Before you know it, the state would be flooded with businesses catering to marijuana users. You would be able to walk right in, sit at a computer, order a joint, and fire it up.

President Obama can keep talking about creating jobs until he is sore in the mouth; however, I don't see how that is going to happen in today's world. We are a computerized country, and computers have eliminated a lot of jobs. Automated kiosks have replaced customer service representatives at airline ticket counters. MP3 downloads and iTunes killed record stores. I don't see how you can create jobs without legalizing something that can get people working really quickly.

Of course, there have to be some regulations — like you can't sell liquor and weed at the same spot, and you can't sell to anybody under 18. Let's go get that money.

Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.

 
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