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An emphatic no to the delegalization of marijuana

Published: Jul 25, 2017

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Dear Editor,


I read a letter in The Tribune newspaper by Dehavilland Moss calling for the delegalization of the marijuana drug, popularly called weed, cannabis joint, hemp and ganja. Moss' a priori argument that decriminalising weed would "help to save many of our young men from murder" is non sequitur and irresponsible. It is tantamount to arguing for the delegalization of cocaine in order to reduce violent crime associated with the drug trafficking industry. Such an action would lead to unintended consequences that would be catastrophic to the very youths Moss is expressing concerns for. He talk as if decriminalizing weed would immediately solve our crime crisis. But with the plant containing the active ingredient THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) which is extremely addictive, any talk of the drug being stringently regulated by the government displays a breathtaking naivety that is laughable and dangerously foolish.

If the government were to delegalize weed, those currently involved in the illicit industry would only go further underground in order to accommodate their clientele whose insatiable appetite for the plant would not be satisfied by the state due to the regulations Moss is calling for. What are the harmful effects of marijuana? According to Foundation for a Drug Free World, the immediate effects of taking weed are rapid heartbeat, disorientation, lack of physical coordination, depression, sleepiness and anxiety. Marijuana smoke contains 50 percent to 70 percent more cancer causing substances than tobacco smoke. The Foundation also stated that one single cannabis joint can cause as much damage to the lungs as five cigarettes smoked successively. The drug has also been linked to bronchitis, inflammation of the respiratory tract, brain abnormalities, psychosis, temporary sterility in men, deformation of sperm cells, disruption of women's menstrual cycle, memory loss and birth and hereditary defects. Marijuana use has also been linked to a woman who gave birth prematurely to an undersized, underweight baby; and the drug may increase the risk of lukemia in the children of parents who smoke marijuana. Granted, marijuana has a few medicinal benefits. But so does cocaine.

All things considered, Moss argued for the recreational use of the drug in order to curtail violent crime -- an argument I believe was weak at best, seeing that he has no empirical data to back up his thesis. The matter of the medicinal benefits of weed did not arise in his letter. From my objective judgment, the cons far outweigh the pros in delegalizing weed. I find it troubling that the writer mentioned absolutely nothing about the state establishing marijuana detox centers for addicts in light of his irresponsible proposal. Such a proposal will undoubtedly increase the number of weed smokers. The government already has at its disposal an effective method to reduce murders: capital punishment. All it has to do is conjure up the will to utilize it and stop pandering to the high court in England. Delegalizing a drug that would expose Bahamians to a plethora of dangerous health effects should not been entertained by the government. Such an irresponsible proposal must be rejected.


– Kevin Evans


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