Opinion: Don’t panic, it’s organicPOSTED: 12/3/11 11:01 AM
Marijuana is as much part of life in the Caribbean as Johnny cake and corrupt politicians. Let’s face it: people will keep smoking ganja whether this is illegal or not.
While we are not into promoting drug-use, we are not in the business of promoting hypocrisy either. We smile when we see a baseball cap or a tee shirt that reads don’t panic, it’s organic. For dumbos who don’t understand the message those tees are adorned with a huge marijuana leaf.
The latest in this field of soft-drug humor is a tee-shirt our news editor Donellis Browne spotted in a store on Back street. God made grass, manmade booze. Who do you trust? it reads.
And there you have reality in a nutshell or, more accurately, on a tee-shirt.
Selling cigarettes is okay. It’s legal, though manufacturers have to write on their packaging the endearing message Smoking Kills or similar texts to cheer up fearless smokers.
Alcohol is so cheap in St. Maarten, it’s a small wonder that there are still people on the island who are not in a perpetual state of drunkenness. And does alcohol kill? It is certainly possible, if someone drinks enough of the stuff. But that message is nowhere to be found on bottles of whisky, vodka or beer.
No one has ever been arrested and thrown in jail for having twenty cases of Heineken stuffed in his garage. But beware; walking around with five grams of marijuana in your Calvin Klein jeans is a different story.
The question is why. What is the real problem with a soft drug like marijuana, while hard liquor is insanely cheap, and while cigarettes kill?
As non-smokers, non-drinkers and non-drug users we fail to see the difference. Marijuana is a recreational drug that is not likely to harm anybody – unlike for instance crack, cocaine and designer drugs like xtc.
What we do see is a huge effort to catch marijuana growers, dealers and users. It is the perfect employment scheme with a hundred percent job-guarantee. That’s because there is an insatiable desire to smoke ganja.
There is also an insatiable market for prostitution for instance. But prostitutes are left alone and so are their clients. Prostitutes even get permits from the government to work here. We have no problem with that, because the policy shows a sense of reality.
But when it comes to marijuana that sense of reality is lost in an incomprehensible desire to comply with international standards and agreements under the umbrella of the war on drugs. All the time and all the resources spent on chasing marijuana users and small time dealers are basically wasted. It were better to focus re-allocate those resources and spend them on fighting the trade in hard drugs.