Double standard for ganja, alcohol

I am responding to an article in the Tuesday edition, 13 December, of the Caymanian Compass.

The article states that seven persons were arrested on suspicion of consuming ganja.

Of the seven, five were Caymanians and two were Jamaican nationals. The two Jamaicans in question were both fined $500 as well as $150 in costs and had their permits revoked. I understand the difference I guess.

What I don’t understand and what needs to be put into perspective is the vast difference in how one drug is perceived as opposed to a legally sanctioned one; that being alcohol.

On any night one can walk into one of the numerous bars and nightclubs on Cayman and see drunken yahoos. These same cretins then proceed to get into their vehicles and drive off.

Quite often, after they have spent the evening consuming their drug of choice, they crash their vehicles into walls, trees and sadly, innocent people.

It should be noted in the following article the police attended a fight outside a nightclub where one officer was injured and three other officers were assaulted. In another incident a driver launched a truck into a parked car.

He is under suspicion of drinking.

We see these articles every single day and although I am not condoning the actions of the people arrested for ganja, I have a very hard time seeing the reasoning behind sanctioning one drug and outlawing a different one.

It is outstandingly obvious the mayhem alcohol causes in our families, our homes, and our roads. Why then the difference?

Why is one form of intoxication better than another?

That is exactly the message given.

One can walk into a bar and drink to excess anytime they choose but go out into the alley and smoke ganja and they are libel for severe penalties.

If you smoke you go to prison.

If you have a cocktail party parking is all you have to worry about.

There are mixed messages here.

Further, it would be interesting to know also how many times police have been assaulted by someone enraged on ganja.

Throughout civilized societies alcohol is taxed and sold through government licensed outlets.

If you had ten thousand dollars you could conceivably buy ten thousand dollars worth of alcohol and have it delivered. No questions asked, although there may be a few raised eyebrows or a chuckle, ‘big party, huh?’

Why is that?

As we all know alcohol is an extremely dangerous drug with devastating social consequences but also readily available.

Where is the outrage when container loads of alcohol arrive here?

Who is bringing this dangerous drug into the country?

And why?

But it is not at all funny.

The answer is very complex and it has much to do with our attitudes of what we consider to be an acceptable form of getting intoxicated. Witness Prohibition, and speakeasies, and rum-running. Witness the mansions and yachts in Miami, Chicago and Seattle. Following that witness also the reversal of a Prohibition on the public consumption of alcohol. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize only the players changed.

And alcohol became socially acceptable and even more readily available.

Because someone noticed there was obviously serious money to be made, irregardless of the social impact of a particular drug.

We should think about that next time we’re following a drunk driver, or reading about a fight or a stabbing outside a bar, and I pray we all have a safe New Year’s and a Happy Holiday. I know two young men who won’t, because they’re out of work.

As I said I am not condoning their actions and they have suffered the consequences. But it’s ironic. And I wonder what would have been the consequences if those young men had been found drinking martinis?

Name withheld by request