Last update: 05-Dec-2013 8:03 am
Thursday, December 05, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Decriminalisation Of Marijuana —A Mistake In The Making
As is customary, I read the Chief Justice’s speech delivered at the opening of the new law term and I must say I was most shocked this year. Usually, I am impressed with the his speech but this year I was most disappointed. Not only was I disappointed with the fact that most of what he suggested has either already been done or is currently in the works, but the very fact that he even gave thought to decriminalising marijuana is beyond me.
Now, while the population may jump up in exuberance at the thought of finally being able to smoke pot without fear of being caught and reprimanded by the authorities, one must think beyond this and look at the bigger picture. The general consensus among individuals is there is evidence that many illicit drugs, including marijuana, pose comparatively fewer health dangers than certain legal drugs—so why not decriminalise it?
Well, although this may be so, one has to consider a number of factors. One such is the strain this can cause on our already overburdened healthcare system. How many people are currently being treated for lung infections or diseases due to smoking? How many are we treating for liver and kidney disease as a result of overconsumption of alcohol? Do we really need, or rather can we afford to add the burden of marijuana users?
Another point is that like alcohol, marijuana at times, awakens violent tendencies and as a popular convention, a smoke and a drink go hand in hand, literally. Is there any doubt that mixing marijuana and alcohol is nothing short of a lethal cocktail? Drinking and driving is perhaps one of the main contributor factors to our high rate of road carnage. What about smoking marijuana and driving?
Interestingly enough, just last week I was driving along the Eastern Main Road and the car in front of me had the silliest sticker on the bumper—“Don’t drink and drive, smoke weed and fly”. I think it goes without saying that the effects of this are downright frightful.
T&T, like every other country in my respectful view, should be aiming to create a more healthy society and as such, we should be encouraging our citizens to adopt healthy lifestyles. Decriminalising marijuana is not in the best interest of our citizens as far as this is concerned. In addition, I am not of the view that we as a people can use this responsibly even if it is decriminalised because our society is simply not ready for something like this.
We have much to focus on to get our country back on track. Let us get our country in order and make it a place where we truly want our children to live and not in a place where we would opt to run away from at the soonest opportunity. That being said, Mr Chief Justice, I respectfully disagree with your call on this issue.
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