Online poll: Most want ganja decriminalised

More than two thirds of the respondents to last week’s cayCompass.com online poll think ganja possession should be decriminalised at least to some degree. 

Of the 1,158 total respondents to the one-week poll, the largest segment – 437 people or 37.7 per cent – thought ganja should be decriminalised and its sale should be regulated and taxed.  

“Personally, I believe if it has that high – no pun intended – of a demand, tax it,” said one person. “License a few growers, regulate sale, tax the sale. Make it legal, but a little difficult and regulated. I’ve never smoked anything at all in 35 years – not even once – but I’d be interested in growing and selling.” 

“We’ve sold out for practically everything else, why not this, too?” commented someone else. “Tortuga and Blackbeard’s could add a new special Cayman gold recipe brownie.” 

“Prohibition has never worked with anything,” said one respondent.  

“By following proven models set by other countries, we would see a sudden drop in crime and an increase in young Caymanian entrepreneurs, not to mention an increase in tourism just like Amsterdam,” said someone else.  

“Too many young people are losing their whole future [by being arrested] for a spliff,” said someone else. 

The second largest segment of respondents – 292 people or 25.2 per cent – said ganja should be decriminalised for small amounts for personal use.  

“It’s crazy to keep filling our prison with ganja smokers who just become more hardened criminals at Northward,” said one person. 

“People are going to smoke ganja if it’s legal or not,” said someone else. “Instead of wasting the police time for busting someone for a spliff, charge that same person say $200 a year and let him grow a few trees for his personal use and allow him to carry say a couple grams on his person whenever he goes somewhere. Not to say he should smoke in public. Save that for when your at home or a friend’s place somewhere that is private property. Regulating its sale won’t work – it will still be cheaper to buy it illegally.” 

“Maybe you guys should look into how Canada has its marijuana laws instead of branding us young Caymanians as useless and making jobs harder to find because of one little joint,” said another person. 

“Scientific research has proven that regular marijuana consumption is not nearly as dangerous as has been presented by the governments,” wrote one person. “Actually it has been proven that it is beneficial against mental illness and other illnesses as well. In comparison to the damages caused by other drugs such as cocaine and alcohol, the few side effects of marijuana becomes bare minimal. The vast majority of users are not involved in other criminal behaviour.” 

Another 61 people – 5.3 per cent – thought ganja should be decriminalised for medicinal purposes only, but none of those respondents left comments. 

Not everyone was in favour of decriminalising ganja. A large segment of respondents – 253 people or 21.8 per cent – said “absolutely not to the question”.  

“Alcohol is already costing us millions of dollars due to accidents and abuse,” said one person. “Ganja will lead to harder drugs being abused adding to the millions.” 

“It’s just going to cause a lot more killing once it’s legal,” said someone else. 

“Its stupid,” said another person. “The drug dealers spray the ganja with cocaine without people knowing and so causing them to become cocaine addicts. This then leads to random withdrawals and suicidal thoughts. People who smoke it are friends with the dealers. Everyone who is associated should be punished.” 

Ninety-one people – 7.9 per cent – didn’t think ganja possession should be decriminalised, but they didn’t think it should be an imprisonable offence.  

“Depending on whether there was an intent to sell – that should be custodial sentence,” said one person. 

Twenty-four people – 2.1 per cent – responded ‘other’ to the question. 

“It is already decriminalised,” said one person. “It is freely used in the prison. How much more decriminalised can you get than that?” 

“Of course it should [be decriminalised],” said another person. “The plant itself has so many uses that it’s absolutely criminal that it’s illegal in the first place! Legalise it and watch the crime rate drop just like all of the other states/countries that have legalised it. Start using it for what it is intended – as a release, just like alcohol, in fact far less problematic than alcohol. Hemp T-shirts anyone?”  

 

Next week’s poll question 

Do you think 2013 will be a better financial year for you than 2012? 

Absolutely 

Probably 

50-50 chance 

Probably not 

Absolutely not 

I don’t know


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4 COMMENTS

  1. The primary reason it should be decriminalized is because it would save the government millions in prison/legal/and court costs.

    And not to mention it would disrupt and decentralize the criminal element.

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  2. It is interesting that all the naysayer’s opinions are based on myths.

    Alcohol is already costing us millions of dollars due to accidents and abuse, Ganja will lead to harder drugs being abused adding to the millions.

    The gateway theory is a myth that never seems to die no matter how many times it is debunked. Correlation does not equal causation and there are several better explanations why marijuana use precedes other drugs.

    First off, many young people have a predisposition to experiment with psychoactive drugs. Alcohol, tobacco, and ganja are universally the first drugs that are available to teens. This doesn’t mean that alcohol and ganja lead to the harder drugs but simply that is what they were able to try first.

    Secondly, marijuana is illegal and you have to buy it from some shady dealer whom usually has other drugs. This dealer is going to offer these new alternatives to the buyer as any good businessman would. Your child is most likely going to go through a phase of smoking ganja whether you want to believe it or not. Would you rather him to visit a ghetto and deal with shady characters or buy it safely at a store when he is of age and support our economy?

    Finally, when children learn of the lies that were fed to about the dangers of ganja and other drugs, they start to distrust everything we say, even the good advice. Yes, there are very real dangers with the hard drugs, but for some drugs like marijuana the dangers are almost nonexistent compared to alcohol. Lets stop the campaign of lies and deceptions and tell kids the truth. That ganja isn’t evil, they simply need to wait till adulthood to use it so it doesn’t affect there learning and development.

    It’s just going to cause a lot more killing once it’s legal,

    Ganja use has never shown a correlation with mortality and I don’t believe there has ever been a direct death from ganja. Compare that to alcohol with over 35,000 deaths a year in the US alone.

    The drug dealers spray the ganja with cocaine without people knowing and so causing them to become cocaine addicts. This then leads to random withdrawals and suicidal thoughts. People who smoke it are friends with the dealers. Everyone who is associated should be punished.

    To my knowledge, there has never been a single shred of evidence that this has ever occurred. Ganja costs 3 a gram and cocaine costs upwards of 60 so who in their right mind would waste all their money spraying nasty substances on their ganja.

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  3. For Everyone?

    This is a Psyco-active drug and remains in the body for several days (4-8) after even a single joint. (a unit of Alcohol can be completely metabolised in under an hour).

    It alters the chemistry/structure of the brain and medical scans can still see the changes even 6 months after last exposure. There is way less known about it’s side effects compared to Tobacco and Alcohol but that doesn’t make it safe.

    Your child is in Hospital for a surgical procedure, is it OK if the Surgeon steps out for a quick splif before donning his gown… Pilots… Bus and Taxi Drivers… Of course not.

    Any road user?

    You may notice the terminology has changed – What used to be termed Drunk Driving is now DUI – Driving Under Influence (of Drink or Drugs)or DWI Driving while impaired.

    Yes the idea that Weed is sprayed with Cocaine is totally ridiculous, BUT, given the value of the crop loss to insects and disease is a concern and pesticides and fungicides are used and these have caused documented problems – DDT and other banned agrochemicals are still used in some parts of the world.

    ALL drugs have side effects, and also benefits.

    I spent considerable time researching both for a friend in his 70’s with serious rheumatism and arthritis and when we sat down with his doctor and discussed the options, the risk of potential mental health issues 20 years down the line was outweighed by the improved quality of life and that the side effects were less than the other options available.

    He takes the drug using a vapouriser system which prevents the known side effects of mixing with tobacco, but also leaves him more at risk to pesticides. Organic is good if he can get it but few growers go for Soil Association Certification for obvious reasons.

    So, clearly, Medical Marijuana has benefits, though that has been cheapened by those who get a prescription without any associated medical condition.

    It’s also a natural product with many different strains. The amount of THC (active ingredients) can vary wildly between strains and even individual buds on a single plant. Even the structure of the THC can change it’s effects – Zulu warriors used a ‘battle snuff’ which had high levels of quarternary THC and far from the mellow mental state many report from smoking a joint, the snuff induces a semi psycotic aggressive rage (akin to what modern soldiers term the red mist) – Various militaries are conducting testing on same!

    The flip side to relaxing the laws is that many employers start requiring screening (THC test strips are selling by the millions).

    In the words of the song, there are more questions than answers.

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  4. WELL WE LIVE IN A WORLD THAT IS CHANGING EVERY DAY, AND THE PEOPLE MUST BE ASKED FOR THEIR OPINIONS OTHERWISE WE WOULD BE LIVING IN A DICTATORSHIP STATE. THE MINORITY MIGHT NOT AGREE WITH SUCH LAWS BUT THAT IS DEMOCRACY FOR YOU,AND THE PEOPLE CAN NOT BE IGNORED. THE TOPIC HAS BEEN IN QUESTION FOR YEARS AND THE RESOLUTION IS THAT MUST BE APPROVED WITH REGULATIONS. REMEMBER SMOKING POT IS NOT A HEALTH PROBLEM, IT’S SOCIAL AND WILL REMAIN THAT WAY, SUCH AS ALCOHOL.

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