For wisdom’s sake let ganja stay illegal
DR ERIC WILLIAMS once said and I paraphrase here, that, one thing we learn from history, is that we have learnt nothing from history. I understand this clearly to mean that history repeats itself over and over that’s why we keep making the same mistakes. I have read much to my dismay of the arguments in favour of decriminalising the use of cannabis and the great doctor’s words came hauntingly back.
Let’s take a walk back in time and then look at the statistics. In the early 1990s, the Swiss government took a big risk and legalised narcotics including heroin and marijuana.
The arguments in favour of legalisation/decriminalisation came from Socialists and medical doctors, who stated that decriminalisation could break up Switzerland’s flourishing black market in drugs and save the country millions of dollars in law enforcement.
Under the plan, a user could withdraw drugs daily using a credit card, or up to one week’s supply, for an amount lower than current street rates. So they set aside a spot called the Platzspitz, also known as “Needle Park” where heroin addicts and cocaine addicts, marijuana users could visit, purchase and shoot up.
Switzerland became a magnet for drug users the world over. Within five years, the number of regular drug users at the park had reportedly swelled from a few hundred to 20,000.
A once tranquil Alpine nation was turned into a ‘’paradise for the Mafia,’’ and a magnet for “drug tourists,’’ attracted by readily available hard and soft drugs.
Police complained that the city policy means that they are powerless to maintain order in the park. In October, police representatives confronted the city government by calling a news conference saying the policy should be abandoned. The area around the park became crime-ridden (with addicts resorting to prostituion or robbery to support their habit) to the point that the park had to be shut down and the experiment terminated.
In the Netherlands, after marijuana use became legal, consumption nearly tripled among 18- to 20-year-olds. As awareness of the harm of marijuana grew, the number of cannabis coffeehouses in the Netherlands decreased 36 per cent in six years.
Marijuana use by Canadian teenagers is at a 25-year peak in the wake of an aggressive decriminalisation movement. At the very time a decriminalisation bill was before the House of Commons, the Canadian government released a report showing that marijuana smoking among teens is “at levels that we haven’t seen since the late 70s when rates reached their peak.”
The scientific and medical communities have determined that smoked marijuana is a health danger, not a cure. There is no medical evidence that smoking marijuana helps patients. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration has approved no medications that are smoked, primarily because smoking is a poor way to deliver medicine.
I therefore ask our government to exercise wisdom and err on the side of caution and leave marijuana as an illegal drug for all intents and purposes.