“Penalties against drug use should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself. Nowhere is this more clear than in the laws against the possession of marijuana in private or personal use.” – – President Jimmy Carter, message to Congress, August 2, 1977
I don’t know if it has anything to do with the growing number of American states that are voting to decriminalise ganja, but the great ganja debate is surfacing here again.
In April of this year, I successfully infused myself into a conversation two young men were having about the similarities in a recent experience that came to an end in the Half-Way Tree RM Court that day. Both men were jailed when they were found with a ganja spliff. They spent nine days in the jail, pleaded guilty and were charged $100 each. So that should be that. But not really.
While they were incarcerated, both men lost their jobs. One’s common-law wife took their two children and returned to live with her parents in the country. The other wondered aloud whether the conviction would spoil his chances of migrating, as those arrangements had already started.
Since the 1970s, there have been government-appointed commissions – here and abroad – that have examined the use of ganja and made public policy recommendations regarding its use.
Overwhelmingly, the conclusions of these expert panels have been the same: marijuana prohibition causes more social damage than marijuana use, and the possession of marijuana for personal use should no longer be a criminal offence.