Change Needs Support
In 2020, Portland, Oregon, became the first state to decriminalize small amounts of drugs. This reform effort has not gone as planned. I keep reading articles that blast Oregon as drug addiction, crime, and homelessness are soaring. Many write that Oregon should rewind and, instead of giving out a misdemeanor fine throw the users in jail. That is not the answer.
States can not create reform without social capital, which includes treatment centers, giving away legal drugs to users, and bringing in social workers to help those in need. People will always do drugs, which is obvious, but you can’t vote to make drug possession a minor crime without building a safety net at the same time.
Look to NY State and the legalization of cannabis. Most licenses have been given to previously incarcerated people, which is truly commendable, but where is the capital to build those businesses? There are over 400 licenses given to people who can’t begin to operate because they have zero capital. Asking friends and family for that money is one thing, but if the Federal Government changed the banking laws, more investors would come into this industry and support new owners.
The Government has to look at the whole picture, not just applaud themselves for a piece of it. Remember that the cannabis black market is worth $200B a year. Doesn’t it make sense to support the legal market through smart investment?