Decriminalising possession of small amounts of marijuana

first_imgRegards,Clinton UrlingSociety of Marijuana Advocates for Reform and Treatment (SMART) Dear Editor,The current legal regime, as contained in the “Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (control) Act”, against the possession of small amounts of marijuana, attempts to prevent a low quantum of harm to society at a very high cost. In other words, the costs imposed on the health care and welfare systems by marijuana use are negligible compared to the costs associated with enforcing current marijuana possession laws.Specifically, the provisions that mandate imprisonment as punishment are not appropriate in the circumstances. The societal interest in prohibiting marijuana possession must take into account, one the one hand, the burden that marijuana use imposes on the health care system, and, on the other, the costs incurred by society because of enforcing the current laws. A cursory observation shows that the costs imposed on the health care system by marijuana are negligible compared to the costs associated with enforcing the current imprisonment regime. While this opinion is based on observations, the State, via the Parliament, should fund and commission empirical studies to ascertain the extent of this, so as to be guided accordingly and act proportionately with respect to the penalties imposed.Additionally, it can be argued that the current laws stand in violation of the harm principle and civil liberties of individuals. As postulated by John Stuart Mill in his seminal work On Liberty: “The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.” In this regard, a criminal sanction of imprisonment should be reserved for those whose conduct causes a risk of harm to others and infringes on the rights or freedoms of other individuals.  The choice of using marijuana is a strictly personal decision, because it is the individual who suffers the change in perception, mood and state of consciousness brought about by the use of marijuana. It is the individual who deals with the consequences of his or her decision, without disturbing or affecting the rest of society. This becomes more so admissible when taken together with the establishment of similar legislation as the recently signed Tobacco Control Bill that prohibits public smoking.It is time that our policymakers enact legislation to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.last_img read more

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Prez Sirleaf Extends Executive Order No. 75

first_imgPresident Ellen Johnson Sirleaf yesterday issued Executive Order No. 75 suspending certain sections of the Liberia Revenue Code of 2000 As Amended, to address the difficulties in the collection of government revenues occasioned by the gross under declaration of income tax by the taxpaying community.According to an Executive Mansion release, in the exercise of Executive Power vested in the President by the Constitution, the President extended Executive Order No. 69 in the public interest to meet emergencies and or correct particular situations, which cannot await lengthy legislative processes.Therefore, in its drive to continue sustaining revenue collection, the government has issued Executive Order No. 75, which suspends sections 904 (a) “Advance Payment Requirement” and 904 (b) “Quarterly Payment” of the Liberia Revenue Code of 2000 As Amended, relating to the payment of Advance Income Tax on the basis of 100 percent of income tax liability of the current tax period. Advance payments are to be made quarterly as determined under section 904 (a) (3).The new Executive Order also imposes an advance income tax of two percent of the gross turnover/receipt for persons that are required to file income tax return. This payment, the release said, shall be calculated on a quarterly basis and remitted into the General Revenue Account. The 2 percent advance income tax is creditable against the regular income tax (i.e. the 25 percent income tax) due in that year to the extent that the regular tax exceeds the 2 percent advance tax. Any excess payment of the advance income tax over the regular tax or total income tax liability for a given tax period shall be subject to Section 72 and Section 14 (b) of the Revenue Code.The government also declares that the income tax filer is authorized to deduct from the advance income tax for each quarter all income taxes withheld and paid on its behalf and remit the balance into the General Revenue Account. These should be clearly reflected on the return with the necessary evidential documents attached.Executive Order No. 75, signed by President Sirleaf on January 8, takes effect immediately.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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