EDITOR, The Tribune.
MOST Bahamians would never admit that he/she smokes or have smoked marijuana or cannabis, dead or alive. It is my considered opinion that unless and until an individual actually experiences something or an event he/she is unable to speak definitively on or about. Decades ago, as a youthful high school senior in Jamaica and later as a university student in London, England, I smoked and actually inhaled.
The fact that marijuana is a mood altering substance cannot be denied. It affects different individuals in different ways. There are some persons, like me, who when I ingested became sort of passive and docile.
In addition, my sexual desires were enhanced as was my appetite. I was never incapacitated physically or became violent. Other individuals, many of whom I would have known, became agitated; violent in behaviour and language and, too often, became abusive to their spouses and/or children.
Marijuana or cannabis in my view is a non issue, especially when one considers all of the other national issues and concerns such as: high levels of unemployment; high levels of preventable deaths; low to zero income and growth thereof; gross income disparity; alleged corruption in high and low places; lack of fiscal accountability and transparency and, of course, the marked arrogance of the PM and his bumbling administration.
This great debate on a great non issue is an ungodly ploy by many failing nations/states in this region to deflect from the bad governance and lack of progressive visions to develop various nations by their so-called leaders. The PM and the administration, apart from the hugely successful roll out of Baha Mar, has next to nothing to claim as an accomplishment since they have been creased up in office. I am sure that they have some things in the pipeline but when will they start to materialise?
Unless and until the USA and the federal government led by a strict non smoker and drinker, Donald J Trump, it is extremely unlikely that the recreational use of marijuana would ever be considered favourably. The jury is still out on the medical benefits of this drug, for that is what it is, and unless and until I see and study the scientific data, I too, will reserve opinion on this.
I prefer the status quo continue for the time being and let us, as a nation, focus on those things that really matter. It would reduce the prison population dramatically if the police and the Magistrates’ Courts were to “tolerate” individuals with a joint or two for personal use. Instead of attracting an irreversible criminal conviction the individual would be required to perform some sort of verifiable community and undergo drug counselling.
Other than this, the FNM and the PM along with many Bahamians are wasting time and whistling in the dark over this great marijuana debate. To God then, that Great Herbalist (yes He made the ganja also) in all things be the glory.
ORTLAND H BODIE, Jr
July 12, 2018.