The legalization of marijuana has been a very contentious issue in the Caribbean, which has caught the attention of many policy makers and organizations over the years.
In St. Lucia, some individuals and groups agree that now is the right time to legalise marijuana, given the global trend, while others have said if legalized, it could have serious repercussions for society.
Joining the debate on Monday (Jan. 11) was Senator Dr. Stephen King, who has openly suggested that marijuana should be legalized and not decriminalized.
The former Chief Medical Officer was reported as saying on Newsspin on Radio Caribbean International (RCI) with Timothy Poleon that if he had it his way, he would legalise marijuana.
But he went into explaining why he would do so.
According to him, if marijuana is legalized a legislative framework can be put in place to regulate its use and revenue could be generated from it.
The independent senator suggested that the income generated from the legalization of marijuana could be used in public health education and other programmes that are deemed necessary.
Dr. King is of the view that most people here have in one way of the other used marijuana and as such he is believes that a public health approach must be taken on the issue, instead of a criminal response.
“A criminal response drives the practice underground and leaves it unregulated, uncontrolled and hence we get the problems that we are seeing,” King asserted.
The senator said Saint Lucia could also have the opportunity to produce the type of marijuana that is not going to be harmful and on the other hand it will ensure that youths don’t have access to the herb.
He said politicians may be reluctant to either legalize or decriminalize marijuana because they do not want to do something that will hurt their popularity.