EDITOR, The Tribune.
IT’S a good thing that the CARICOM mission is here in The Bahamas to discuss the decriminalisation of marijuana. The Bahamas is so, so backward on this issue. I’m glad CARICOM coming here has led us to talk about this important issue.
State after state in the United States is legalising. I think it’s up to seven or eight. Along with those states, Canada is set to legalise. Uruguay already has. Numerous other countries have decriminalised.
Marijuana has a recreational use. Many also think it has medicinal properties, especially when it comes to pain management. In the US while only a few states have legalised fully, including for recreational use, the majority allow medicinal marijuana.
Recreationally, marijuana is like alcohol. Use it too much and you could harm your health. Same thing is the case with alcohol. Get too high and you incapacitate yourself. The same is the case if you get too drunk. If you become dependent on it, you’re an addict. The same is the case with alcohol.
It is hypocritical to allow alcohol and to bar marijuana.
By making marijuana illegal we waste police and court time; we waste government money chasing, arresting and jailing people who use it; we also make criminals out of honest and decent people who just want to enjoy a short-term high.
I think a good number of parliamentarians think marijuana should be legal. The problem is they fear these pastors who talk too much. They have an opinion on everything. Some of them do not even have tertiary level education, yet they act like experts on all social issues.
The politicians are afraid to touch issues the pastors oppose, even when they know they would be good moves for the country. The pastors hold us back. The lack of courage among the politicians holds us back also.
We are being silly when it comes to marijuana. We should legalise it and let adults make choices with their lives. If you think marijuana is bad and evil, then don’t use it. That’s your right. Your right, however, should not be a law that stops the rest of us from enjoying a smoke every now and then. This is a free country and those who want to smoke after a hard day of work should not be restricted by the view of old-fashioned people.
Bahamians who support legalising it need to speak up more. There are lots of us. We need to push for change. That’s the only way we are going to get to the point where adults can enjoy themselves with a smoke without the fear of being arrested.
MARTHA S GREENE
January 4, 2018.