David Burt, the current PLP Chairman, has given a thought provoking and wide ranging interview to the Bermuda Sun today. I found his interview to be pregnant with topics for discussion. Perhaps one of the most controversial was his statements on cannabis and the potential for the PLP’s upcoming Annual Delegates Convention to discuss the decriminalisation of cannabis.
At the risk of signing myself up for frequent searches at airports (not a big deal, I already get stopped most of the time for other reasons, lol!), I want to state right here that my position is in favour of at least decriminalising cannabis. Straight up I should stress that I do not smoke marijuana. For that matter I do not smoke period (well, okay, I do very, very, very rarely have a cigar). My drugs of choice are alcohol, chocolate and caffiene. Serious, if I don’t have a bar of chocolate (the darker the better) or a cup of tea within 24hrs I get a headache and the shakes, sad isn’t it? Having said that, any drug, if abused, can have serious health and social consequences. And cannabis certainly does have health impacts. My position on its decriminalisation is simply that it’s health impacts are no worse (albeit different) compared to tabacco and alcohol, which are legal drugs.
I personally would advocate going beyond decriminalisation and towards complete legalisation along the lines of the Netherlands. I advocate this for a number of reasons. I would even advocate that supply of cannabis be completely controlled by the Government (kind of along the lines of the Liqour Control Boards of Ontario). My reasons for this are firstly in order to ensure the quality of the cannabis, that is, to make sure it is not adulterated with harmful substances. Secondly, the revenues generated by the sale should be used to subsidise social welfare policies (healthcare, education, alternative energies, etc.). Thirdly, I reckon it would be one sure fire way to boost our tourism. I realise that the USA may have an issue with such a development, but quite frankly, it’s our country and our laws. They should focus more on their own issues and stop messing around with other people.
The popular local fourm BIAW has a discussion on this topic ongoing here which has some relevant information.