Submitted by the Mahogany Coconut Think Tank and Watchdog Group
We are in full support of High Court Judge Randall Worrell’s call to decriminalize marijuana for personal purposes. We are also in full support of his position that our court system is clogged up with old cases involving marijuana charges. We do not condone drug abuse in any form but we believe that if cigarettes can be legally sold, there should be sales of marijuana as well. At least we know that cigarettes destroy millions of lives annually and place tremendous pressure on health services.
We hope that a more progressive approach is used in assisting those afflicted with the addiction of marijuana. We strongly believe that prison should be used for the punishment and rehabilitation of hardened criminals and not those who for one reason or another find themselves addicts. We know that many kids today are addicted to their parents’ prescription drugs and there are those amongst us who are addicted to medication. Certainly a modern judicial system cannot continue to waste time, resources and prison space on what are unfortunate human maladies. Our kids today are under constant pressure and sometimes they fall victims to habits that cannot be cured by excessive floggings or imprisonment.
We are equally concerned about the use of alcohol by our very young citizens and find it very hypocritical, that we are content with turning a blind eye to the heavy intake of alcohol in our communities. Alcohol is also a drug and its addiction is widespread. We are also concerned about the role the heavy use of alcohol plays in instances of domestic abuse , the financial ruin of many families and non –productivity in the work place. If we intend to seriously tackle addiction, we must be prepared to do so at all level.
Justice Worrell and others entrusted to hold up the law would also be aware that the small dealers and users who end up before the judges are mere pawns in the drug industry. While we do not encourage the so-called small man to engage in any form of illegal behaviour, we cannot deny that the big financiers and those in high up places seldom find themselves before the law courts. The simple truth about marijuana is that it was allowed to take root in the society, when it first surfaced in the late 60’s.
However, we are not dreamers; we realize that legalization of marijuana will not find tremendous support, in a society that is known for ignoring reality. Therefore the decriminalizing of the use of the plant for personal/medical purposes may be more palatable than its full scale legalization. While we welcome the good judge’s position, we now call on those of similar ilk to be more forthcoming with other matters that disturb us and are boarding on, or are in themselves, criminal acts.
One that stands out is the persistent and consistent reports of the Auditor General, of what appears to be widespread disregard for our laws of governance regarding the proper financial accountability by several government or quasi-government departments. While we are chasing the drug pushers we seem to be condoning white collar crime. We remind Justice Worrell and others that stealing is also a very serious addiction especially when aided by political activity and office.
We hope that Justice Worrell’s progressive stance will be a turning point for a judiciary that relishes in the tradition of keeping a stiff upper lip. As we have said before, the taxpayers do not pay judges to just put on robes or wigs and quote the law. We pay them to be the guardians of society and therefore hope that the brave example of Justice Worrell is emulated by his other distinguished and erudite colleagues.