Decriminalizing marijuana could be in nation’s future

Societies around the world, some as close to us as the Caribbean and the United States, have addressed the issue of marijuana (cannabis) to varying degrees, in favor of users.

In the United States, it has been declared that although the “use, possession, sale, cultivation, and transportation of cannabis” is illegal, jurisdictions could pass a law to decriminalize the substance if it is only being used for “recreational or medical” purposes. In the Caribbean, Belize recently put into law that a person could be in possession of as much as 10 grams of marijuana without being penalized.

Here in The Bahamas, the Minister of National Security, a former top ranked police officer, seems to be in the camp of those who are looking to soften the charges that relate to marijuana. Minister Marvin Dames has pointed out that a lot of deliberation is necessary, especially regarding the medical aspect.

“I am a firm believer in this....that all of our young people who have been arrested over the years for a little gram here and a little gram there, and still have it on their record... that we should move at some point, and this is my personal view, to kind of clear that up and give them a clean slate. There are a lot of things that go into the mix when we talk about decriminalization, that oftentimes people don’t think of,” the minister was reported saying.

He has not committed himself. Minister Dames, however sounds sympathetic to the point of being a supporter of the law regarding marijuana being revisited.

Although there are those who abuse the marijuana substance, other stimulants, and regular cigarettes, as do those who consume alcoholic beverages, many others have been known to control their intake and exist in society as major contributors to nation building. Presidents of the United States have been associated with marijuana smoking.

Noted clergyman Bishop Simeon Hall recently also pointed to the unfortunate young members of our societies who have their lives changed negatively because of being found in possession of small amounts of marijuana.

“There will come a time when we will take a look at it (decriminalizing marijuana) as well,” said Dames.

We believe the time for our legislators to address the marijuana issue is upon is.

The time is now.

The present government should do what has been done in other countries, appoint a committee to discuss at the very least, altering the law that relates to marijuana.

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