Police Crack Down On Marijuana

By CELESTE NIXON Tribune Staff Reporter THE government is cracking down on the use and production of marijuana across the country. Minister of National Security Tommy Turnquest said that while the use of cocaine - which rose to epidemic proportions in the 1980s - has substantially fallen off, the use of marijuana has grown, especially among young people. Mr Turnquest said that despite the plummeting drug seizure figures since the 1970s and 80s, the Bahamas still has a "serious drug problem". The new drive comes as the police announced the discovery of more than $300,000 worth of drugs while searching a car on Saturday. A 37-year-old man was taken into custody after officers found 335 pounds of marijuana while searching a car. They also found 72 pounds of cocaine worth $528,000 in another vehicle, and are questioning four men, ages 53, 32, 30 and 25. Mr Turnquest said the police and other law enforcement agencies will go after everyone involved in the marijuana trade - from production, to sale, to use. One of the main factors in the current prevalence of marijuana is the emerging trend of domestic production, the minister said. He added: "Attitudes are also driving the drug problem, particularly the thinking that marijuana is not a dangerous drug, but a recreational one." According to Mr Turnquest, the police will also crack down on the abuse of prescription drugs, another growing problem. He emphasised that all illegal drugs contribute to the country's crime epidemic, as dealers and traffickers inevitably become involved in other illicit activities, and addicts commit crimes to support their habit. Mr Turnquest said: "The numbers of illegal activities increasingly being associated with the drug problem are well known. "They include illegal immigration, migrant smuggling and the trafficking in illegal firearms. The trafficking of illegal guns is particularly egregious, because of the crime and violence they engender in the country. "I want to emphasise here that countering drug trafficking and drug abuse is an integral part of the government's stepped-up wider crime strategies. "The objectives of our crime strategies are to stop violent crime, especially murder, that a small group of wrongdoers are inflicting on our country, and bring them to justice." Mr Turnquest said the government has created a "framework" for tackling drugs over the next five years, which will target "the illicit production, trafficking and abuse of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances". "Its principal focus is on building collaborative partnerships to curb demand, reduce supply, disrupt trafficking networks, and promote healthy drug-free lifestyles, especially among youth," he said.


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