Government backbencher James Paul today came out strongly against moves to achieve the legalization of marijuana, clearly hinting he would oppose the issue if it ever comes up for approval in the House of Assembly.
“The point is I do not agree with the legalization of marijuana,” he made clear as he delivered the weekly lunchtime lecture at the headquarters of the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP).
“I think it would be sending a wrong message. If you look at some of the societies in which marijuana has been legalized, there is a noticeable increase in hideous crime.”
The two-term St Michael West Central Member of Parliament said he was “a real person and looks at real society” and therefore refused “to bury his head in the sand based on the rapid social decay where there is widespread abuse of marijuana and other illicit drugs”.
“Our authorities need to accept more responsibility. Our community workers need to get out there and address this scourge. Our leaders need to stop sending these ambivalent messages to young people. On one hand marijuana is good, and on another hand, it is not good,” he said.
Speaking on the topic “Preparing the Youth of Today for the World of Work”, Paul said the abuse of marijuana was creating major social problems among Barbadian youth. He charged that too many people today wanted to be part of the “in thing”, accommodated and engaged in doublespeak, and argued that it was up to the individual to choose what was right or wrong for them.
He told the audience: “It is in that kind of environment where it has seeped into homes. We are in danger of parents passing on an aura of invincibility to their children when it comes to marijuana. The true dangers of the drug are not appreciated by some. We have a bureaucracy which sometimes seem intimidated by the efforts of those who make the most money out of drugs, to have marijuana legalized.
“The state should never go to the point of giving the impression to young people that a substance like marijuana is something that can be used. We need to stop speaking in a duplicitous manner on these issues,” he added.
Recalling a recent funeral he attended for a young constituent, Paul contended that marijuana could be death to some of our young people.