Pubdate: Fri, 03 Jun 2005
Source: Jamaica Gleaner, The (Jamaica)
Copyright: 2005 The Gleaner Company Limited
Author: Keith Gardner
Note: Keith Gardner is assistant commissioner of police.
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


THE DECRIMINALISATION or legalisation of ganja is a matter of
Government policy. Government policy is defined as what Government
chooses to do or chooses not to do. It is a process that is defined by
interest articulation and interest aggregation. Some of this interest
is local, some is national and some international.

Now, what we are seeing here is perhaps a significant number of
opinions that seem to be saying to Government that we need to revisit
the whole question of the legalisation of ganja but there are pros and
there are cons in legalising the drug and there are constitutional
considerations. This issue has been raised time and time again.

The Dennis Forsythe issue came up a while ago and he tried to turn
around the whole thing by saying ganja is used by some Rastafarians as
a sacrament in their religious worship. And that because religious
worship was guaranteed as religious freedom, freedom of conscience,
that it was guaranteed under the Constitution, then they should be so
allowed (to use it).

But there are also other consequences. There is also the question as
to whether the use of ganja is a stepping stone to the use of other
serious drugs. I am not here to say whether or not this is so. We, as
policemen, are not here to declare the law, we are here to enforce the
law. As soon as the Government is influenced to amend the law, then we
will go with it. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake