The African Heritage Foundation (AHF) is of the opinion that the recent move by this present administration to legalize “Medical Cannabis”, is founded on the demands by big businesses and wealthy individuals to capitalize on this growing global industry.
One must note that all naturally grown cannabis is medicinal. Further to this, the historical evidence of the pharmaceutical industry’s involvement in the initial decriminalization of cannabis is widely available for all to ingest.
The AHF is asking the question, why are Barbadians still being penalized for possession of small amounts of cannabis for recreational use. As proponents of African centered heritage and culture, the AHF reminds us that all herbs have medicinal properties. Herbs, roots, leaves and barks of many trees and plants are used recreationally as preventative measures against a host of health issues. Rastafari sisters and brothers have for decades used many herbs including cannabis as a daily reliever of stress, meditation tool, sacrament for communication with the invisible visible and preventative health applications.
Based on its research, the AHF is of the opinion that legalizing recreational cannabis will add millions to the economy, create many small businesses, free up scarce police resources, and stop the huge racial disparities in cannabis enforcement (how many white Barbadians are presently incarcerated for cannabis use or possession). The AHF further contends that regulating cannabis will lower street crime. Evidence supports that legalizing cannabis takes business away from the drug lords, and makes cannabis use safer through home growing, education on cultivation, required testing for commercial use, labeling, and child-proof packaging. It is said that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol, and that adults should have a right to use it if they wish.
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With a murder rate that is rapidly increasing and no plausible solutions being offered, the AHF is of the opinion that some attention needs to be paid to the legalization of cannabis for recreational use. The opinion of the AHF is supported by researched data coming from spaces that have legalized for recreational use.
- The Victoria University of Wellington’s research led by Dr. Luke Chu from the School of Economics and Finance, has noted that violent crime has been reduced in California by 20% since the legalization of medical cannabis. California since the legalization of medical cannabis and its positive social outcomes has not legalized for recreational use.
- Uruguay’s drug-related crime rates have dropped by 20 percent since the Cannabis plant was legalized for distribution and sale in July 2017. The sovereign state made history as the first place on the map to legalize cannabis distribution. This change in cannabis laws has led to a major reduction in the war on drugs that continues to plague much of South America. A safer environment is the outcome of making cannabis legally available to purchase in Uruguay since consumers no longer need to turn to the Black Market to procure their herb.
- An abstract taken from Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization: Crime and the legalization of recreational marijuana, it states ” First-pass evidence is provided that the legalization of the cannabis market across US states is inducing a crime drop. We exploit the staggered legalization of recreational marijuana enacted by the adjacent states of Washington and Oregon. Combining county-level difference-in-differences and spatial regression discontinuity designs, we find that the policy caused a significant reduction in rapes and property crimes on the Washington side of the border in 2013–2014 relative to the Oregon side and relative to the pre-legalization years 2010–2012. The legalization also increased consumption of marijuana and reduced consumption of other drugs and both ordinary and binge alcohol. Four possible mechanisms are discussed: the direct psychotropic effects of cannabis; substitution away from violence-inducing substances; reallocation of police effort; reduced role of criminals in the marijuana business.”
- A 2014 study published by researchers at the University of Texas revealed that the enactment of “medical marijuana laws precedes a reduction in homicide and assault. In sum, these findings run counter to arguments suggesting the legalization of marijuana … poses a danger to public health in terms of exposure to violent crime and property crimes.” Robert Morris, Director for Crime and Justice studies at UT, analyzed data supplied from the FBI and found that marijuana legislation “is not predictive of higher crime rates and may be related to reductions in rates of homicide and assault. … Given the relationship between alcohol and violent crime, it may turn out that substituting marijuana for alcohol leads to minor reductions in violent crimes.”Green Light approved.
- For the persons that try to link block activity to violent crime, please read! Another study published by researchers at UCLA reported that the growth of cannabis outlets in urban areas “was not associated with violent crime or property crime rates.” The researchers suggested that medical marijuana dispensaries may reduce neighborhood crime because of the security precautions taken by business owners. According to yet another study published in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, adult use marijuana laws are associated with lower levels of property crimes and violent criminal activity. The data revealed thefts, property crimes, and rapes declined after marijuana regulation. Authors attributed the reduction in crime to less alcohol consumption and the reallocation of police resources, among other factors. “The concern that legalizing cannabis for recreational purposes may increase crime occupies a prominent position in the public debate about drugs. Our analysis suggests that such a concern is not justified,” the researchers concluded. The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Bologna, who evaluated the connection between the cannabis regulations and crime rates in counties along the Washington-Oregon border. The study shows crime rates decreased dramatically in counties in Washington, where adult marijuana use was legalized in 2012, compared to counties in Oregon, which didn’t vote to legalize until 2014. The study suggests that cannabis legalization reduced consumption of other drugs. It also reduces the instances of binge drinking and alcohol consumption in general. In 2017, a report titled “Joint Culpability: The Effects of Medical Marijuana Laws on Crime,” concluded: “We do not find evidence that medical marijuana laws consistently affect violent and property crime. … Our results suggest that liberalization of marijuana laws is unlikely to result in the substantial social cost that some politicians clearly fear.” In the state of Washington, which legalized adult recreational consumption in 2012, violent crime fell 10 percent. In Seattle, overall crime numbers in February 2017 were the lowest in five years. Rates of violent crime and property crime fell in the city of Denver following legalization. Crime rates have similarly declined in Portland, according to a recent CATO think-tank policy report. “The absence of significant adverse consequences is especially striking given the sometimes dire predictions made by legalization opponents,” according to CATO’s researchers. Some misguided local jurisdictions have actually shut down cannabis retail outlets, citing potential criminal danger. But the forced closure is associated with an uptick in crime, according to data published in the Journal of Urban Economics. University of Southern California researchers assessed the impact of medical dispensary closures on crime rates in the city of Los Angeles. The data showed an immediate increase in criminal activity – particularly property crime, larceny, and auto break ins – in the areas where dispensary operations were forced to close as compared to crime rates in those neighborhoods where marijuana retailers remained open for business. “[W]e find no evidence that closures decreased crime,” they reported. “Instead, we find a significant relative increase in crime around closed dispensaries.” In fact, cannabis outlets provide more than $30,000 per year in social benefit in terms of larcenies prevented, the study’s authors concluded. “Contrary to popular wisdom, we find an immediate increase in crime around dispensaries ordered to close relative to those allowed to remain open.” (Greenlight Approval – https://greenlightapproved.com/marijuana-legalization-studies-show-decreased-crime-rates/ )
That being the case, the AHF is of the opinion that the least that the BLP should do is offer a moratorium on arrest for small amounts of cannabis and backyard cultivation of personal use and profit (medicinal, sacramental, economical). The AHF is also advocating for a town hall meeting to facilitate discourse and resolution on the matter of above mentioned moratorium. We need some decisive pro-cannabis advocacy that will advance this call for a town hall meeting with the relevant authorities .
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African Heritage Foundation