One of the most contentious subjects when it comes to government policy is the fact that a significant faction of the population endorses the legalization of marijuana. It makes sense because our ancestors were the ones that brought cannabis to this country, making it part of our cultural heritage. According to a 2011 survey, 3.9 % of our population are regular marijuana users (around 58 500 people) while 0.91% are regular opiate users, the highest number in Eastern Africa. Recently we’ve been dealing with a surge in synthetic cannabis-related incidents and as a result, many youngsters have been committed to mental institutions.
There’s been a significant upheaval in public opinion as more and more people are being educated on the benefits of marijuana, when compared to lethal licit substances such as alcohol and cigarettes. Tobacco consumption alone is responsible for 7 million deaths annually while that figure is 3.3 million for alcohol related deaths. However, statistics on marijuana related deaths is as of yet unavailable although countries where it’s legal have not reported any death attributable to the consumption of marijuana. Here are 5 reasons why it makes sense to get rid of the stigmas attached to marijuana consumption and legalize it.
1.In Mauritius, a vast majority of our prison population have been indicted on consumption or possession charges
Three quarters of the prison population comprise of marijuana users who’ve been subjected to the harsh penalties attached to marijuana possession and consumption. A prison term of up to 5 years is mandated, as well as a fine not exceeding Rs 100 000. In other countries, such penalties would be deemed ‘brutal’ if not ‘inhuman’ as research has shown that marijuana alone hasn’t been linked to an increase in crime or mortality. After some states legalized marijuana in the US, a follow-up revealed that road rage, traffic violations, accidents and public misconduct had not gone up, henceforth proving that legalizing marijuana doesn’t lead to a rise in criminality.
2. Reports have shown that there was no rise in teenage marijuana consumption in the wake of its legal status
In Colorado, they debunked the myth that teenagers and children would be exposed to marijuana once it would be legal. The findings are pretty clear in that regard-legalization didn’t lead to an increase in its use among teenagers or children. In Mauritius, teenagers have easy access to cigarettes and alcohol, which are known to inhibit brain growth among other things. In Uruguay the government controls the marijuana trade by means of registries that ensure no one under the age of 18 is exposed to marijuana. Conversely, in Mauritius it’s not unusual to catch a glimpse of an underage person smoking or drinking as the laws are pretty lax.
3. Legalizing marijuana could lead to a decrease in opiate consumption
It’s been established that countries and states that have legalized marijuana saw a significant decrease in opiate consumption. In Mauritius, there are currently 13 650 opiate users, most of whom are battling disease and poverty. The rehabilitation process for these individuals is one of the most nerve wracking experiences anyone could ever go through and yet we’ve not come up with concrete solutions on how to solve this crisis. As it happens, although some detractors have posited that marijuana consumption is a slippery slope that leads to the consumption of harder drugs, facts have proven otherwise.
4. The dismantling of notorious cartels
The legalization of marijuana could have the advantageous aftermath of eradicating the influence of the Peroomal Veerens of our country. We all know that the dealers will be up in arms should such a policy attract significant interest and consequently, it could lead to the demise of the black market which has been responsible for the dissemination of synthetic drugs and the associated deaths. The black market has enough leverage in the political realm, which might be one of the reasons why the government hasn’t considered legalizing marijuana to this day. Marijuana legalization is a no-brainer policy in a country that consumes a large amount of it.
5. A tax policy that could be used to finance social projects
Or in other words, legalize it and tax it. Following Uruguay’s example, we could set up micro-governmental branches that would oversee the trade of cannabis and enforce the regulations, incidentally creating new jobs. The revenue from the sale of cannabis could be used to finance a myriad of social projects that have been in limbo for years now, such as the renovation of our public hospitals and further training for our teachers. Those aren’t even remotely unrealistic endeavors and could be very well put in motion once we establish a framework to distribute and profit off this new policy.
Only a government that’s in cahoots with the black market would overlook the propitious aspects of legalizing marijuana.