Volney wants marijuana decriminalised: "Youth man who pops a joint harms no one"

Monday, January 16, 2017 - 07:15

Former high court judge and Minister of Justice, Herbert Volney, is calling for the decriminalisation of marijuana, saying that the average young person who smokes weed, does the country no harm.

Volney made the call in a Facebook post on Monday morning.

The following is the post written by Volney:

"Magnificent Monday and I write for decriminalisation of marijuana. There are parts of Trinidad and Tobago where the marijuana plant grows having found itself in a bird dropping. For our forbears it was a pipe thing for leisurely existence until the Englishman in London found a prohibition for it in India and, by application of colonial laws, to the colonies. 

The present danger in marijuana is not proven to be the psychotropic fall out but the trade that attracts gun running and associated nefarious activities. The youth man who pops his splith or joint, harms no one and if anything, aids in comforting him in the wake of social evils of unemployment, and serious other societal displacements of marginalisation. 

Sadly, the system targets him for smoking weed and even jails him for it. Our jails are bursting at the seams with accused awaiting trials. But there are two more telling aspects of the criminalisation of small quantities found in possession. The first is that police officers are known to plant small amounts on youth men and even so called 'big shots' to embarrass them with a criminal charge as a pathway in many instances to extortion.

Visit the Magistrates Courts and listen to the evidence of planting of weed on unsuspecting citizens. The second, and even more serious fall out is the criminal record that attaches to even the innocent citizen found guilty in the court. It's bad enough that the youth man taking his smoke is caught and convicted but when the system records a criminal conviction against him that destroys his otherwise good character. He can no longer get a good job, a visa and his life is totally messed up. A criminal record is a life burden. 

When I was your Minister of Justice, I chaired the Mercy Committee that was often challenged by applications of young persons trying to resuscitate their otherwise good character by requesting a Presidential pardon. 

A government of which I may in the future serve in if called upon will for certain address the de criminalization of negligible amounts of marijuana. Possession of larger quantities obviously for enrichment through trading will remain on the statute books and an appropriate licensing regime will be introduced for the limited cultivation within established co-operative societies, and in backyards. 

We live in the 21st Century and we have to stop burying our heads in the sand and prevent the destruction of our young people. Time and resources would be better directed at treating alcoholism, cigarette and other addictions proven scientifically to be destructive to health. Onward Ever! Visit Citizens Brigade 2020!click and join and be part of the movement to make our country great again."

Volney's post has been generating interest on Facebook where several young people have lauded him for his comments.

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