Senior health official wants marijuana legalised
Chief Medical officer Dr Patrick Martin said the legalisation of marijuana could have a positive effect on violent crime in St Kitts-Nevis.
"We have the evidence in health, in the security sector. In 2007 the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime produced a report titled 'Crime and Violence in the Caribbean', and I quote, 'Drug trafficking is the cause of the gun-related homicide'.
"Where there are drugs there are guns. The gun culture is everywhere. Can we bring it to an end in St Kitts and Nevis? The answer is yes, we are 50,000 people," said Martin, who was speaking on a programme on WINN FM on Monday.
He told listeners that "there is no denying the fact" that people know those who are involved in the illegal drugs trade and that the guns are used to protect the trade.
"We know that retribution or revenge or retaliation, the three 'R', are fundamental to the gang culture. If something is missing you suspect the rival gang, you don't ask any questions, you shoot first.
He said guns are used to protect the profits of the illegal trade.
"It's the profit motive. The use of marijuana in this country is culture. Demand for marijuana is universal," he said, arguing that the state spends a lot of funds on policing and prosecuting marijuana users.
INTELLIGENT CONVERSATIONS NEEDED
"What we have to do as intelligent independent people is to have an intelligent conversation on data and stop filling up our jails of people who are probably self-medicating.
"I could understand persons who are trafficking and selling to minors, and stuff like that. We have to put some limits. Since the Rastafarians regard the marijuana as a sacrament it ought not to be used to make a profit.
"So persons who are profiting and targeting young people, they are outside of the rule of sacrament. I have no sympathy for those persons. But there are bona fide spiritual and medicinal use of the plant and we are wasting our time and resources going down the road of criminality only," he told listeners.