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Openness; reduced stigma called for in marijuana debate – Sowande

- says young people criminalised for marijuana usage
Speaking on the 3D radio programme last evening, September 6, 2013 Commentator Natalio Wheatley aka Sowande Uhuru said young people are being criminalised in the Virgin Islands for their choices with regard to the use of marijuana. Photo: VINO/File
Host of the programme, Douglas Wheatley said more and more [marijuana] is being accepted medically. Photo: VINO/File
Host of the programme, Douglas Wheatley said more and more [marijuana] is being accepted medically. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – As the debate on the use of marijuana continues to be waged around the globe, calls are being made locally for more openness in discussion and a reduction of the stigma that is attached to the issue.

Speaking on the 3D radio programme last evening, September 6, 2013 Commentator Natalio Wheatley aka Sowande Uhuru said young people are being criminalised in the Virgin Islands for their choices with regard to the use of marijuana.

He reflected on the results of a report which was recently laid in the House of Assembly that suggested nearly 95% of teenagers have used marijuana at least once in their life.

“What I would like to see [is] a little more openness towards the debate, of course the debate has been stigmatised, but we don’t want for [the Virgin Islands] to be the last place on the planet to open up our minds to at least even having a discussion and a debate about it,” Sowande said.

According to Sowande, much information has been emerging recently regarding the benefits of marijuana and the list of countries that have been legalising the drug has been increasing as the years go on.

He felt once the issue of marijuana was debated and the debate came to the fore, ultimately “rational people will make rational choices”.

Host of the programme, Douglas Wheatley agreed and said “More and more [marijuana] is being accepted medically.” He noted that Puerto Rico was currently moving in this direction and felt that this was a good move.

He pointed to a debate occurring in Jamaica that encouraged the exportation of the drug for medical purposes which would allow the country to reap a great deal of foreign exchange from the cultivation and export of medical marijuana.

“I think that one of the difficulties that we have had as a Territory, a community, is that sometimes we don’t take a mature approach to controversial and sensitive topics and we prefer to avoid them rather than discussing them,” Douglas Wheatley stated.

20 Responses to “Openness; reduced stigma called for in marijuana debate – Sowande”

  • ... (07/09/2013, 09:21) Like (9) Dislike (1) Reply
    legalize it!
    • the rock (07/09/2013, 13:39) Like (10) Dislike (1) Reply
      Legalise it and be done with it. I have never smoked it and never will but clearly everyone else wants to. When its legal the price of if will drop and as a result it will become unprofitable for the drug lords. And we all know they want the almighty dollar. The billions spent fighting it can then be put to other uses like focusing on the fighting of hard drugs.
  • xxxxxxxx (07/09/2013, 09:39) Like (1) Dislike (26) Reply
    The war on drugs is an expensive battle, as a great deal of resources go into catching those who buy or sell illegal drugs on the black market, prosecuting them in court, and housing them in jail.
    • Blak (09/09/2013, 09:30) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      The war on drugs is profitable in the states and beyond. It targets young black men and woman to put in the "INDUSTRIALIZED PRISON SYSTEM" wich creates cheap labor for corporations. You think Mexicans take low wages? Nothing cheaper that jail labor and wages.
  • vick (07/09/2013, 09:41) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    at least,some poeple keep an open mind about it.
  • Local grown (07/09/2013, 09:46) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
    Sowande, you are right.
    And how strange that this debate doesn't even exist here in the BVI even though we have a leading part in the most serious global campaigns to rethink drugs policy.
    1. BVI resident and island owner, Sir Richard Branson is behind this campaign/film that brings together world leaders and police chiefs and lobby's governments on how to change drug laws:
    2. BVI home owner, Morgan Freeman: Narrator of the powerful film about drug laws, 'Breaking the Taboo'.
    3. Son of Guana Island owner, Eugene Jarecki made this award winning film, The House I Live In, analyzing the war on drugs, how it has failed and how it is a tool to put black people in jail:

    How can these people who have deep BVI connections be at the center of this worldwide debate and we here in the BVI can't even talk about it in the HOA, in the news media, or on the streets.
    (I tried to post a similar post on Platinum and they simply censored it our of existence. Never showed on the site. Why? You afraid of debate?)
    Question: Is it because we are led by small minded religious conservatives who have swallowed the dictat of the colonial powers when it comes to totally illogical drug laws?
    Or is it because so many BVIslanders have profited so greatly from the drug war in terms of running drugs through the islands and into the USVI, plus hiding drug money away in our murky banking system?
    I believe all the above cannot be denied, yet we continue on, pretending these truths don't exist, drugged up on denial and criminalizing yet another generation of youths who start to understand why laws and government are total sham in their tender teenage years when they realize they can go jail for smoking a natural grown herb.
    Government, we have a drug problem. We need to talk.
    • facts (08/09/2013, 13:04) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      I agree with you on everything except the banking part. BVI does not have a 'banking' system as you have alluded to, you're thinking about Cayman. We benefit from company registrations and the back office work that comes with it, not banking.
  • Research (07/09/2013, 13:34) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    The Supreme Court in Argentina has ruled that it is unconstitutional to punish people for using marijuana for personal consumption.

  • qc (07/09/2013, 13:40) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    Legalize it to kill the industry. We all know worldwide governments won't because the war on drugs makes a lot of money.
  • @ Local grown (07/09/2013, 13:42) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    kinda of dumb when most of the high grade marijuana is grown in california, canada, colorado. they dont smoke that crappy mexican weed.that is a fact, I was a grower in cali for years
  • medical marijuana (07/09/2013, 15:27) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
    Lets make good use of the greenhouses .... Profit for days ... Another economic pillar .... We can export worldwide
    • Raft (07/09/2013, 16:21) Like (2) Dislike (4) Reply
      hahahahaha ma belly hurting wid tis cocka-may-may
      • Read (07/09/2013, 19:41) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
        Really?? Cocka-may-may? Do you understand how the economies of Canada and the Netherlands have been boosted by the legal sale of marijuana. Why is it so difficult to have informed critical debate?
  • JVD (07/09/2013, 19:52) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    last election none said nothing on decriminalizing small portions of ganja
    poor politicians
  • concerned citizen (07/09/2013, 22:15) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
    Imagine they are considering discussing Gay Marraige in the HOA, but a plant that at least 60% of the population have used and would like the freedom to choose concerning its use, is punishable by jail time.

    Gay behaviour is outside the scope of Nature. It is an abobination. A Man and a man cannot make a child. A woman and a woman cannot make a child. But now in America, they are allowed to adopt children into their little sick world. This behaviour is actually being praised in Amerca "they are saving children". While the Devil knows he is currupting the masses in time, the next generation. By then, everyone will accept this sick behaviour, because many of their "Parents" were Gay People. Its a cunning deterioration of society.

    Marijuanna is derived by a Seed, Earth and Water. But this is illegal in America, so by default the BVI follow suit. The Beast is showing his face and cunningly decieving the masses.
  • Be Fair (08/09/2013, 10:04) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
    All those who calling for legalisation...check out the boys on the block in the East, West and North side who can't seem make something positive of in day out they on the block. All those who calling for legalisation 95% of youth use it...could it be a factor in why the state of our youth is so deplorable? legalise it when those who deal it in continue to lase it with harder drugs to get the buyers hooked to increase sales? Legalise it?? Get real...
  • Be Fair (08/09/2013, 10:09) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    People of the BVI, we have bigger debates...leave the small fish frenzy please. marijuana is the least of our interests...because America is talking about it, we should too...look at the state of America. Stop being puppets
    and BTW for those who don't know...marijuana is partially legalised in the BVI...just go to any major concert in the BVI and you will see... BVI Music fest, Reggae Night at the Village and the like...weed to knock you arrests...weed smoking right in the front row...that's enough legalisation the BVI can and should take.
  • light (08/09/2013, 13:35) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    at leaat some States in the USA have seen the light on legalizing this thing
  • Real Talk (09/09/2013, 06:34) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Every plant on earth is here for a purpose (think about it). Why they don't band the hibiscus?

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