I read the caption of the story ‘Charlestown youth sentenced to prison for marijuana possession’, and then I read the accused got more than two years in jail for having in her possession 4 ozs of Cannabis. And I could not help saying, what are we doing to our youths?
What would happen to this young woman when she gets out of prison? She did not steal, ie deprive someone of their property. She did not wound or kill anyone. She was not selling cocaine. She was selling something that so many people in this country use, from doctors to lawyers to bums. It in no way causes the pain and suffering inflicted on the person, the family, and society that alcohol does, and which is consumed as though it is going out of style.
In many states in the USA a person is given a ticket for possession. Why? It’s because it has been declassified as a narcotic. In many states it is legal while in others it’s legal for medicinal purposes.
We are incarcerating youths for pot when our prison system is overcrowded. A youth found in possession is jailed. He then associates with hard criminals. There is no reintroduction into society. He is a jail bird. What are the chances that he would continue a life of crime to sustain himself and family? They’re high.
He works, earns a salary, uses some to buy pot and to feed his wife and children, is caught sent to prison. Now who is there to feed his family? He comes out of prison. He has no job and so because of the need to feed his family he is recruited by the criminal gangs. Maybe he is caught and again sent to the overcrowded prisons.
Let’s not forget there is a cost to the taxpayers for keeping him in prison. A cost we could ill afford. The combined cost is too much. This money could be better served in educating and in rehabilitating. There is presently no anti-drug use education going on.
Mr Michael Carrington MP, some time ago tabled a bill in parliament. This bill is still there. It does not call for the legalisation of pot, but calls for the removal of the mandatory sentencing which prevents magistrates from using their discretion. It also calls for an increase in the amount cited above which is classified as trafficking.
This is an appeal to the Prime Minister who is the leader of Parliament to have this piece of legislation see the light of day. I am calling upon the President to save the youths of this country from unnecessary incarceration. I am calling on Mr Joseph Harmon, Minister of State to look seriously into this social problem. And I am calling on the newly elected General Secretary of the AFC, Mr Marlon Williams to initiate discussion on this matter within the AFC.
At the same time I am calling on the President to consider initiating a national discussion with regard to marijuana production and use. In many countries it is a billion USD business.