Sunday 8 December, 2019

Fuad: Time for marijuana for medical use

Former minister of health Dr Fuad Khan has joined the growing chorus of voices calling for the decriminalisation of marijuana, particularly for medical use.

The former minister’s call comes as the world celebrates 420 - April 20 - an international counterculture holiday, where people gather to celebrate and consume marijuana.

Khan noted that such events have a political nature to them, advocating liberalisation/ legalisation.  

“The day has become a half celebration and half call to action. On the occasion of 420 (2018), I once again renew my call for the decriminalisation of the use of marijuana,” Khan said.

He recalled that in his contribution to the budget debate in Parliament on October 11, 2017, he pointed out the many benefits to the economy by legalising marijuana, its medical uses and the need to desist from criminalising young men in particular for using small amounts.

Do you believe marijuana should be decriminalised?

Only for medical purposes

“I went to great lengths to show the benefits but the current government has constantly ignored all calls for changes to the law,” Khan said.

Reminding the public of the Prime Minister’s stance on the legalisation of marijuana in 2015 that it was “fashionable” and not a priority for Government, the former minister slammed this administration’s approach on the matter.

“This government’s continuing failure to broach matters of national importance has become a serious drawback when it comes to our society evolving based on science, pragmatism and common sense,” he said.

Listing the benefits of the medical use of marijuana, Khan noted that the country has the highest rates of hypertension, cancer and diabetes.

With the granting of marijuana licences, the former minister believes that the country can begin to benefit from the positive medical benefits.

“Patients with epilepsy, diabetes, cancer, multiple sclerosis, irritable bowel syndrome and other conditions will be able to have access to legal marijuana, not having the added burden of trying to evade law enforcement.”

He noted that international research in the last decade has shown that there is therapeutic value in medical marijuana use, and stressed the growing need for decriminalisation.  

“Trinidad and Tobago must move swiftly to separate marijuana from the very real and dangerous illegal drug trade and allow the people who use it as medicine to do so without being incarcerated. Today, as people all around the world celebrate 420, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is set to unveil a Bill decriminalising marijuana at the federal level. This would mark a natural step forward coming on the heels of action taken at the State level to legalise marijuana.”

“Marijuana smokers are not second class citizens. Adults have the legal right to consume alcohol, tobacco and other legal drugs but are criminalised if they choose marijuana, a natural herb. That is neither reasonable nor fair,” he concluded.


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