NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The issue of legalizing medicinal marijuana should be a ‘no brainer’, according to former Governor General Sir Arthur Foulkes.
Sir Arthur recently reiterated his support for legalization of the substance in a carefully regulated framework, during an interview with Eyewitness News.
His comments come as The Bahamas National Commission on Marijuana (BNMC) is working to conclude its report, gauging the public opinion of Bahamians on the matter.
“I said when this debate first started that I don’t see why there’s a debate over medical use of marijuana, that’s a no brainer,” he said in a recent interview.
“I mean if it’s something that’s medically useful you’re going to debate over whether you want to use it? So obviously I’ve always been in favor of that.”
In terms of recreational use, Sir Arthur said: “I am not opposed to that, but we have to be careful and we have to educate the public, especially young people.
“I hear all sorts of arguments that marijuana is an entry drug.
“There’s no evidence that marijuana is an entry drug. Alcohol reeks more havoc in most societies where it is practiced. Cigarettes kill millions of people every year. There’s no evidence that marijuana does any of that.
“But if it is made more available or legalized, we have to educate our young people, because you have to take a scientific approach.”
The former Cabinet minister pointed to scientific theories which indicate that the substance may be dangerous before a person’s brain is fully developed.
“That’s what we have to be careful about,” Sir Arthur continued.
“You have to be very careful about taking that risk and all the scientists say that.”
Comparing the use of marijuana to the consumption of alcohol he said, “We’ve been pretty successful in persuading most of our young people not to drink alcohol until they arrive at a certain age, so it’s not insurmountable.
“I have a liberal attitude towards marijuana but a caution. Be very careful when we talk about legalizing it for general use. But for medical use, like I said that’s a no brainer.”
The BNCM’s preliminary report green-lights recreational and medicinal marijuana usage, and proposed that the substance be decriminalized and persons be allowed to have a maximum of one ounce of the substance in their possession without prosecution.
The preliminary report, which was obtained by Eyewitness News last month, features recommendations from various subcommittees on the medical, economic, religious and recreational use of cannabis in The Bahamas.