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The Politics of Pot

October 29, 2017

Dear Editor,
The democracy we are afforded gives us the right to dissent and I must categorically state that the House of Representatives made a monumental step backward last week with the legalization of certain amount of marijuana. The measure is grossly counterproductive to the citizenry of this nation and a step backward to the establishment of a society that is productive and one that enhances positive nation building. But naturally do not expect the politicians to do the right thing, but rather merely to put a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound. Now there are those who will quickly counter this argument with evidence that studies have shown that marijuana can help to improve with some forms of diseases and ailment. My answer to that is that I am pretty sure that if you look hard enough, you can find studies that will show that smoking crack cocaine is also good for you. My point is that out there, there are ‘studies’ and there are ‘studies’ it all depends on which side you want to take. I will be the first to admit that there are chemicals within the marijuana plant that can be used in some scientific form in medications, foods, vitamins and supplements, but the law was not aimed at that, it was aimed at possession and consumption. Some also argue, what about alcohol and tobacco and I will be the first to agree with them, both are extremely dangerous to man’s overall health and even more so why making it easier for the consumption of pot should not be the way forward. There is no doubt that marijuana, alcohol and tobacco are all addictive and that should be reason enough to discourage and in some cases band their use.

The biggest argument for this monumental piece of legislature is that young men and women are being incarcerated for what amounts to petty amounts of marijuana, which in turn ties up the courts and the resources and manpower of the Police Force. The incarceration is disproportionate in that the majority of the population seems to be Black men and Latinos. My answer to this is TRUE. But what the politicians have so skillfully avoided is that the consumption of pot is but a side effect of a greater cause. The vast majority of citizens incarcerated for petty marijuana offences also have one more thing in common, they are all poor and come from marginalized communities or those that are heavily dependent on government handouts. Marijuana provides a relief from daily and in some cases lifelong economic problems. Its consumption has become a solace for the downtrodden to relieve themselves from that. In some cases it’s an income earner. The problem therefore is that people turn to its use like to that of alcohol as comfort. The failure of the state to provide the opportunity for everyone in the nation on an equal standing to education, health, social justice, liberty and an opportunity to make an honest living is the driving force behind not only pot consumption but also alcohol abuse.

However, the state has not seen it fit, that rather than address the root cause of this problem, the answer is a mild form of legalization. Will this decrease consumption? NO. Will this decrease cultivation? No. Will it solve the plight of the poor and underprivileged? NO. It’s like the government is saying, it’s now ok to smoke and to indulge in yet another vice that these people don’t have the money to sustain in the first place. Where do we think they will get this money from? Then there is the far left justification that it creates inspiration like in the example of Bob Marley.

And Sigmund Freud was a crackhead, what’s your point? These are the exception rather than the norm. I am sure that there are totally functional addicts of every kind in every modern society but am almost sure that most of the people that are smoking in Belize are not using it to get any sort of inspiration otherwise we would have seen thousands upon thousands of patents and brilliant new ideas coming out of Belize every year. The plain truth is that they are simply doing it to get high. Then there is the religious argument. There are those who are claiming that they use it for their religious belief. This is what I call the loophole approach. Because freedom of religion is guaranteed under the constitution, the argument is to somewhat use that as the protection for consumption. Two things I will say about this, if your religion needs you to be in some altered state of mind, then maybe something is wrong with your religion and if you think that your beliefs should trump the law, look at the case of the State of Utah vs. Jeff Warren as an example and then you will understand how ridiculous the idea of some religious belief being above the law is.

In my experience in life, I have seen beautiful, intelligent young people with huge potential waste away their lives because of marijuana addiction. I had a fellow co-worker when I was in Oil & Gas who needed to smoke every day before he started to work to the point of that if we were working in a rural remote area and he ran out of his personal supply, he would drive all the way to the nearest town to get some which was sometimes hours away. Now anything that controls you that way, be it food, drugs, alcohol, tobacco or whatever else, is surely not healthy for one’s life.

But we also have to look at the political side to this legislature. While for the older generation of the country who grew up in a different time this may seem as an unpopular decision, the government of the day and the opposition have rolled the dice because they realize that this move has huge support by the vast majority of the youth of the day who for the most part see marijuana as totally harmless. That was probably me 30 years ago when my view of life was different and I had not been molded by the experiences I have now had in life. But the politicians be not worried, with 33.95% of the population below the age of 14 years and 20.55% of the population below the age of 24 years, it is safe to say that the future voting population will continue to grow up with the subtle encouragement of the government that a certain degree of pot is ok. They can rest assured that there will be no voter’s backlash anytime soon.

Any form of legalization is but a liberal approach to solving a problem. If you look at the composition of the leadership of either house and I am talking the real leadership, not the die-hard followers, since there are those in the house too. You will realize that they are products of the 1960’s which was a time when the liberal agenda started to raise its ugly head. The age of free love and drugs, homosexuality, the radical environmental move that placed everything else before the interest of man, animal rights (not animal cruelty, there is a big difference) and then you will realize why our leadership thinks a certain way. They are essentially the product of a liberal agenda and their approach has always been to legislate right into wrong. They are always reluctant to address national core issues that gnaw away at the society, rather than make unpopular decisions, bite the bullet and move forward.

If we want to solve this issue of the incarceration of minorities in our prisons, the answer will never be a more liberal approach. Curb corruption, provide equal opportunity in education, healthcare, employment, reduce crime, create the avenue for local and foreign investment and give the downtrodden an opportunity to create their own happiness rather than create a dependency on government handouts and all forms or mediums to create an artificial high be that tobacco, weed, alcohol, crack, prescription drugs or Rambo-wine. Expect some form of legalization of the illegal sex trade and prostitution in the future from this ongoing liberal agenda.

It’s all about the people!!!!

Neri O. Briceno

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