Thursday, May 29, 2014

SHOULD WE LEGALIZE MARIJUANA?



The ensuing brouhaha over the video of a man in a hotel room  (who looks a lot like Sports Minister Anil Roberts,) rolling what looks like a joint of marijuana, has got me thinking. I am not going to comment on the video other than to say that I personally do not approve of the behaviour that I saw there. (And, yes, I did watch it.) But that is not the point that I wish to make in this post.

I am almost the only person that I know of my generation who has never smoked weed. This was not because of some higher sense of morality or character or any other high sounding moral principles. It was simply because I have never smoked a whole cigarette in my life. Frankly, I hated the taste and smell of tobacco (and still do) ... and yes, I have stuck a cigarette or two in my mouth in my life and taken a few puffs. So, although (especially in my student days) I was around people who smoked the stuff (marijuana) I can put my hand on my heart and swear that I personally never did.

Why am I making this confession now? Because, quite honestly, I did not then, and do not now, consider the smoking of marijuana to be any big thing. Oh! I have read the reports that say that leaving aside any illegality that it is extremely bad for your health. Indeed,  I even have read one report that said that marijuana is even more dangerous cancerwise than cigarettes! Well, that may or may not be so, but alcohol and tobacco ain't so good for you either!

But I do not see the logic in giving kids who puff a joint and then getting caught by the police a criminal record that stays with them for life. Why would we ... do we ... want to do that? To my way of thinking it really doesn't make sense. Frankly, the only thing that I see happening with the continued criminalizing of marijuana is that it makes the big drug dealers rich (or richer) but it doesn't stop, prevent or even lower the use of the drug.

Indeed, there is an argument (that is personally attractive to me) that because marijuana is an illegal drug, that this makes  it easier for young people to go on to harder and more dangerous drugs like cocaine. If you are already breaking the law for smoking marijuana, the argument goes, you might as well get hanged for stealing a sheep instead of a lamb. In other words, if you get caught it is going to be the same punishment. (And just to be clear: I see a big difference between marijuana and cocaine and am certainly not advocating legalizing the latter.)

As I said at the beginning, the behaviour of the man who looks like Anil Roberts in the infamous video is not something to be admired for a whole host of reasons that, hopefully, are (or ought to be) obvious. We'll soon find out how that particular scandal will play out. But I think that we should use the opportunity that it has created to have a wider discussion on the whole question of de-criminalizing the use of marijuana.

2 comments:

  1. Robin I agree with you. But what is happening is that Rowley and the PNM boys are making it appear as if the PM is advocating the legalising of pot when in fact she has never suggested it or made any statement on it.
    What she did say at the Caricom meeting is that she would consider supporting a Caricom proposal to legalise MEDICINAL marijuana, which is what the developed countries like Canada and the US have done.
    But the PNM, in its usual style of misinformation and outright lies, conveniently left out the word MEDICINAL and is now suggesting that the lady wants to make smoking weed legal.

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  2. This is one of the reasons that I wrote this piece. I see this issue as NON political. Anybody who wants to try and gain political points out of it is an idiot. The issue is do we want to hang the label of “criminal” on our kids for smoking pot? I don’t think so.
    Robin

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