The Grenville Phillips Column | Marijuana – to legalise or not?
We were told that if we wanted the youth vote, that we must agree to legalise marijuana for recreational use. Well, Solutions Barbados policies will significantly benefit the youth of Barbados. However, while we plan to allow non-addictive extracts to be prescribed by doctors for medicinal uses, recreational use of marijuana is another question.
In a Solutions Barbados administration, using marijuana will not attract a prison sentence or court presence, but a fine, much like how illegal parking attracts a parking ticket. Marijuana will remain an illegal substance in order to protect our youth.
Many of our youth tend to push the boundaries of what previous generations agreed was generally acceptable behaviour. Some of our behaviours result from researched health and safety standards while some are cultural.
Our youth tend to push the boundaries of all behaviours during their development as they find their own way. Parents and guardians are responsible for restraining them if their behaviours can cause harm to themselves or others.
During interactions with some young teenagers, they noted that they did not use Facebook, for the simple reason that many their parents used it. Instead, they used the more recently developed application, Instagram, which few of their parents used.
Our youth have a natural desire to express themselves differently from the previous generation. This desire is normal and may be expressed by their embracing the latest technological equipment, music, dress and/or other types of fashion.
The styles between generations is sufficiently far apart that our youth tend to stand out when they are with adults. However, when competing to be different among their peers, they may be tempted to cross the boundary of is legally accepted. They may express their desire to stand out among their peers by exceeding the speed limit, which is why their car insurance premiums are higher.
Some youth are attracted to marijuana for the simple reason that it is illegal. However, if it is legalised, then they will likely find something else to differentiate themselves from the normal crowd. In the US, where states legalised marijuana for recreational use, the youth turned to brain altering drugs, and deaths from overdosing on opioids increased significantly.
Legalising something harmful may seem like a good solution to reduce the costs of policing. However, I do not think that the foreseen consequential damage to our youth is worth it.