After eight years of their economy going into the gutter, Puerto Rico is kicking around the idea of giving their tourism industry a boost by legalizing marijuana use. And if that doesn’t get you down to the tiny little Caribbean island, they’re also considering legalizing prostitution.
Puerto Rico is currently saddled with a $70 billion debt, and as much as 45 percent of the country lives below the poverty line and with little hope in sight, the government began soliciting suggestions from the public on what to do. And, not entirely surprisingly, sex and drugs were top suggestions.
The best part is: the government is going to consider it. Out of the 400 ideas submitted by the public, about 150 are being seriously considered. They have to, of course, otherwise it’s their asses on the chopping block next.
“We are studying all alternatives and all possibilities,” Puerto Rico Sen. Maria Teresa Gonzalez told the Associated Press. “Change always brings inconvenience. I’m convinced that before we talk about something as dramatic and disastrous as layoffs, we have to consider other ideas.”
And layoffs would be huge. Some proposals call for the end of more than 40 government agencies. Rep. Ricardo Llerandi Cruz says he has a plan that would cut $160 million solely in administrative costs associated with what he says are redundant government positions and departments.
“Puerto Rico is facing the worst fiscal crisis in all of its history,” Cruz said to the AP. “We need to refocus or revisit governmental priorities to face these problems.”
Likely, though, the government will raise taxes, ignore legalizing pot and continue to cling tight to their jobs by fighting reality even more.
Any of the proposals to help ease the country’s debt would have to go through a lengthy process of public hearings, legislative approvals and the signature of Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla. The pot proposal likely wouldn’t make it past public hearings, though, as about 70 percent of the country said they were opposed to legalizing cannabis according to a recent poll by Puerto Rican newspaper El Nueva Dia.
Other proposals include increasing coffee production, releasing the elderly from state prisons and requiring unemployed to work on state-run farms.