By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Local Security Expert Roshan Khan believes the time has come for marijuana (cannabis sativa) to be legalized in Guyana for medical purposes.
He said the impact of decriminalizing the use of the herb is potentially positive; adding that it has the probability of eliminating the cartel and pharmaceutical controls. Khan was at the time speaking along with President of the Guyana Rastafarian Council, Ras Leon Saul on the radio program ‘Hard Talk’ on 90.1 Love FM.
“I believe there should be regulation which permits medical use of marijuana, not the wholesale freedom of it. I don’t think our society is ready for that… we can take it in snippets and then evolve,” Khan opined.
He immediately pointed out that there will be persons who will abuse the privilege, once granted, but argued that there could be special Court procedures established to deal with such overindulgences.
Khan, who hails from the Muslim community reasoned that millions of people have died from overdoses of medicine across the world; adding that there has not been a single death caused by marijuana use, recreationally or medically. “Marijuana use has become a widespread thing, whether legally or illegally, but you don’t hear of marijuana violence or marijuana causing accidents … alcohol is more dangerous to the human brain than marijuana.”
Khan added that the legalization can be done in a license framework which will garner revenue as he compared it to the sale of alcohol and cigarettes where the warnings of its dangers are advertised and measures taken to curb abuses.
“As a futurist I think it is something we need to embrace now and if we don’t we will have to prepare for more criminality, more imprisonment of youth and destruction of lives,” he said, adding that “I know a lot of people will abuse it and have fake prescriptions but it’s the reality of human nature… the important thing is that the criminal cartels will be eliminated and police will not be burdened to do policing of marijuana fields.
Meanwhile, Ras Leon Saul has argued that the criminalization of the use of marijuana is an infringement on human rights.
He said the Rastafarian community, whose precepts are founded in Christianity, has scriptural admonition for the use of the herb and went further to urge the legalization of the plant for religious purposes.“While smoking the herb could be harmful with the carcinogens present, we would like to cook it… make salads, tea, cookies but because you cant plant or grow and the limited amount available, then the most effective way is by burning it… I’ve been burning since 1977, hadn’t children then and have 11 children now,” he added.
He says he has no doubt that it will be abused as is done with tobacco and alcohol but urged too that measures be put in place to deal with such excesses.
“It is the most wonderful health plant in the world apart from Meringa,” he said, adding that “there is light at the end of this tunnel.”
So far the Guyana Government has not given any consideration to decriminalizing of marijuana for any purpose. However, it is expected that at next CARICOM Heads of Government meeting the issue will come up for debate.