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A puff of pot by law or not?

Well known drug counsellor Roger Husbands would have none of this

legalized marijuana talk. Even illegal as its use is right now, he argues, pot

smoking by schoolchildren remains a problem.

“Children go to school and sleep under the influence of marijuana. They

can’t focus under its influence. Can you imagine our education system if we

were to legalize it?” Mr Husbands challenges us. “Who is going to come out

from that system now? Our children are not going to be as educated or as

prepared to take on society.”

Naturally, proponents of marijuana smoking and drinking and their

legalization will accuse Roger Husbands of using predictable scare tactics to

defend the current state of criminalization of the drug’s use. But is what he

proffers all that forced and preposterous?

Even the most avid –– and remotely intelligent –– supporter of

decriminalized marijuana use will agree that tots and teens should not be

puffing pot (not even exposed to its second-hand smoke), or be using any

mind-altering substances for that matter, for our young are in their most

crucial, important developmental years.

Yet, ironically, as Mr Husbands points out, the weed or ganja has been

causing considerable problems in our schools “for years”. Surely, children are

not the major source of supply; not the wholesale dealers; not the importers.

These are all adults, who ought to know better.

Apart from the much touted “medical benefit” of marijuana, what other

social good then will come of the decriminalization of the drug vis-a-vis the

body and mind of our young children and their exposure to the legitimate use

of a potentially devastating herb in the home, on the street and every other

allowable place?

Of course, there is the current theory that general education and regulation

–– not outright criminalization –– of legal, age-restricted substances, effectively

decrease youth access and use; and this has given rise to the legalizing of

marijuana use for medical purposes and leisure in some states of America.

Paradoxically, the same United States remains ever ready to hammer

countries elsewhere that would harvest and distribute the drug. But that is

another point for discussion at another time.

The legal marijuana use advocates argue that much as teen consumption

of tobacco and alcohol, two legal, age-restricted products, is monitored and

controlled, the very same could apply to the enjoyment of pot. They insist

that through a concerted effort by the government, businesses and educational

institutions to control and regulate advertising, promote responsible behaviour

(responsible puffing of pot,that is), and keep our young informed on the effects

and potential harm these products may have on their growing bodies (which

Mr Husbands is currently doing) things would just play out.

To whose benefit is still much up in the air.

There have even been recent “studies” that show that in states in America

with an established regulatory regime for people to gain legal access to

marijuana, adolescent use rates have either stayed the same, or gone down.

There is not much to boast about the ravenous use of pot remaining the same

legalized as it was when illegal. The harm to body and soul is no less, and

continued usage portends dire consequences down the road.

Transplanting this tragic state of affairs in Barbados you can begin to

understand the pressure that would be put on our national free health system

and on the counselling support programmes like Mr Husbands’.

Keeping marijuana illegal will probably serve Barbados best, as suggested

by Mr Husbands. For one thing, it could dampen enthusiasm for the setting

up of commercial entities free to promote, advertise and market increased

consumption of the drug; free to target children’s minds, if not for early use,

usage when they would come of age –– presumably at 21. Here would be a

targeted audience destined to become addicted –– and devoted

lifetime customers.

Big business has already taken the pains to establish such a model with

alcohol and tobacco, its survival deeply dependent on addicting our young to

replace the older users who die from tobacco- and alcohol-related diseases

and accidents.

Which brings us to the much hailed view in the Caribbean, even by some

of our leaders, about the economic benefit of legalizing marijuana.

Who will exploit the commercial benefit and make the megabucks

therefrom? A CARICOM conglomerate? Or an American superfranchise

corporation? Or maybe some bunch of self-employed entrepreneurs à la

co-operative credit union?

Mr Husbands surely has a view on that!

2 Responses to A puff of pot by law or not?

  1. Joi M. Joaquin
    Joi M. Joaquin January 17, 2014 at 9:45 pm

    Amen … don’t follow what others are doing … sickening children always fall victim for lame weak adults ..

  2. Renny Johnson
    Renny Johnson January 18, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    Don’t legalise drugs


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