Attorney General Candidate Jim Lewis: Legalize Weed to Save Florida's Economy

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Lewis: "Faint heart never won fair maiden."
Jim Lewis

won't be your next attorney general. But if there were some miraculous come-from-behind victory for the perennial losing candidate, Lewis would bring about a radical change. He'd legalize pot.

Not just medicinal pot but any big old spliff any adult wanted to roll. And you could grow it. And smoke it anywhere. Lewis, an attorney who has run unsuccessfully for five state and local offices, spoke to the Juice about his pro-pot stance.

The Juice: You've had a long career in criminal justice, from assistant state attorney to special prosecutor for the governor, so people may be surprised to hear you support the

decriminalization of marijuana. What gives?

Jim Lewis: Being a prosecutor for 12 years taught me that the state has limited resources to handle dangerous criminals, we only have so many prison beds, and we really can't afford to build anymore. It makes no sense to waste law enforcement resources, court time, and jail space on marijuana users.

Click here to read this week's cover story in New Times calling for Florida to legalize pot.
California and Colorado were out front on legalizing medicinal marijuana. Will Florida be next?

Legalizing marijuana for medical purposes only will accomplish little except making doctors who write prescriptions rich. Florida should take the lead and legalize marijuana for adults and get the tax revenue like we do for alcohol and tobacco products.

Some cities and states have decriminalized marijuana for medicinal purposes or small amounts of pot. You say we ought to decriminalize the possession of any amount for adults. But is that too extreme to pass?

Faint heart never won fair maiden. There is nothing extreme about legalizing marijuana that is less injurious to public health and safety than alcohol, cigarettes, or pain pill prescriptions.

If the state allowed marijuana farming, as you've suggested, how do you see that changing rural Florida?

State-authorized marijuana farms with good-paying agricultural jobs to rural Florida. The mainstream press doesn't want a grassroots independent candidate to win a statewide race.  The media has become addicted to the special interest money that buys political commercials and ads. If the media had its way, only political candidates who pander to special interests would get elected. The voters are smarter than that. I believe I do have a shot to become Florida's next attorney general.

The Sun-Sentinel called you a "poorly funded, little-noticed" candidate. Think you have a shot at this?

If marijuana is decriminalized, we will save hundreds of millions of dollars that we can better spend on education, our environment, and other quality-of-life concerns.

If marijuana is decriminalized, how would it change the state next year, in five years, in ten years?

If marijuana is legalized, we can balance our budget with the tax potential of legalized marijuana.

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