Freeing ganja will put T&T at risk
I WAS not surprised when the St Vincent prime minister sought to place decriminalisation of marijuana on the regional agenda. I believed that the hidden agenda was to bring his country’s very substantial marijuana production from the informal sector into the legitimate economy. However, when the head of our Trinidad and Tobago judiciary sought to convince our population that marijuana should be decriminalised because the court system is bogged down with many cases, as a concerned citizen, I must react.
Should the population be placed at risk because of the inadequacies of the judiciary when night courts and plea bargaining have not been tried?
Is the judiciary now admitting that it is incapable of providing its mandated service to the preservation of a law-abiding society?
Does the judiciary not have a role in making this country more civilised? If so can we really decriminalise lawless activities because the courts are bogged down by inefficiency?
There are many villages in T&T where young people have been made living zombies by marijuana, giving up all hopes of advancing themselves because of their addiction. Marijuana’s use and production have introduced many of our youth into the underworld, and into gangs.
I must also ask if it makes sense to decriminalise marijuana usage while trafficking remains a crime? Doesn’t the former complement the latter?
I believe that we need to hear reports from our social workers who have to confront families brought to despair by this drug. We need to study the cases of those for whom marijuana provided a gateway for use of cocaine and heroin, of those who stole and robbed in order to pay for their fix.
I have heard that marijuana has medicinal properties. If so, should there be free and open usage, or should it not be prescribed by a doctor?
Furthermore, medicinal marijuana should be processed into a pill, rather than smoked because smoking can introduce other hazards.
Why should marijuana smoking be decriminalised when at the same time the society is regulating smoking; asking for smoke-free buildings?
What about those situations where marijuana actually aggravates a medical condition to trigger attacks of depression and schizophrenia?
The use of marijuana was once legal in the region. I implore the legal researchers to find out why it was made illegal and see whether we can return to this situation by decriminalising the drug now.
I call on the People’s Partnership Government to avoid being lured into this trap that can undo the few gains we have made over the years, and reject this idea outright. After all, we have already compromised the quality of life in Trinidad and Tobago by virtually decriminalising the driving of PH cars, speeding, trading of pirated goods, playing excessively loud music, squatting and littering.