Friday, May 29, 2020
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Say no to legalizing marijuana 

Dear Editor,

The decriminalization of marijuana and legalization for medicinal use is all about the mighty dollar: money.

Marijuana is a mind-altering drug and not food or a product to be sold in our stores.

Proponents for the legalization of recreational marijuana have been sharing their version while advocates wait in the wings to invest in their pot shops.

The government is looking at income that may be derived from taxes on this drug.

While we support marijuana for medicinal use with proper regulation, we do not support recreational marijuana.

Most of our politicians and some of our pastors with very liberal views, are willing to sacrifice our young people and cause further destruction to the moral fabric of The Bahamas.

If legislation is passed in favor of recreational marijuana, we can expect higher marijuana usage among young people, a spike in criminal activity and increased social ills. Additionally, there will be a greater burden on health care and social services.

Citizens For Justice Bahamas (CFJB) is calling on the government to begin a national educational program on marijuana before the findings of the Bahamas National Commission on Marijuana’s report is debated in Parliament.

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis and others, including opposition leader Philip Brave Davis, have already publicly announced their support for legalizing recreational and medicinal marijuana.

The people must have their voices heard on this important issue.

We will not allow the government to ram this down our throats as was done by the former PLP administration after losing the gambling referendum.

It is our request that the government of The Bahamas conduct widespread public consultation and nationally broadcasted town meetings in each constituency.

Speakers will debate the pros and cons of marijuana use. The views of the people should be heard before parliamentarians begin debate in the House of Assembly.

To date, the Bahamas National Drug Council and the National Anti-Drug Secretariat have been silent on this issue after years of educating the nation on the dangers of marijuana and fighting drug addiction in our schools and communities.

We also await the position and recommendations of the Bahamas Christian Council on this matter.

CFJB has scientific evidence that was reviewed by board certified physicians in the United States that confirm the many negative effects of marijuana use that causes health problems, contrary to what the proponents for the legalization of marijuana have been saying.

Here are some of the short-term effects confirmed by Verywell Medical Review Board, headed by Dr. Richard N. Forgoros, a professor of medicine, cardiologist and expert in internal medicine for over 20 years.

Dr. Forgoros is the former chief medical advisor of research and development for Boston Scientific CRM and former director of cardiac electrophysiology at the University of Pittsburgh:

1. Distorted perception to sights, sounds, time and touch

2. Problems with memory and learning

3. Loss of co-ordination

4. Trouble with thinking and problem solving

5. Increased heart rate

Research has revealed that marijuana use may sometimes produce anxiety, fear, distrust or panic. When high doses of marijuana are taken, the user may experience hallucinations, delusions, impaired memory and disorientation.

Marijuana use also has negative effects on the heart.

Within a few minutes after smoking, the heartbeat may increase by 20 to 100 percent and the blood pressure may drop slightly.

The risk of a heart attack increases four to five times higher within the first hour after smoking the drug.

Additionally, research published in 2017, found that people who smoke large amounts of marijuana on a regular basis have reduced bone density, which can increase the risk of bone fractures.

Frequent marijuana use also affects the lungs and causes increased risk of lung infections and acute chest illnesses.

Marijuana smoke contains three times the amount of tar found in tobacco smoke and while studies have not confirmed the increased level of lung cancer, it is logical to deduce that there is an increased risk of lung cancer for marijuana smokers.

Everything America and Europe do, our leaders somehow believe that they are obligated to follow.

They have no vision for a prosperous, godly and safe Bahamas.

We do not need to follow the crowd, nor should we as a nation allow ourselves to be bullied or intimidated by the United Nations, the European Union, the United States of America or any of their agencies.

The Bahamas must truly remain a sovereign nation under God and different from other nations.

The government of The Bahamas did not need a marijuana commission to tell them something that they had already pre-determined to do.

We in CFJB are disappointed with the hypocrisy in both the FNM and PLP on this marijuana issue.

What The Bahamas needs now more than anything else are leaders who care and have a heart for the people. We need leaders who are smart enough to understand that they are servants of the people and not their masters.

May God give us wise, humble and caring leaders with courage and integrity in the church and in government.

Today, we have too many pastors who are more committed to their politics than their God.

Pastors are called by God to expand the kingdom of God on earth by winning souls and feeding the flock. They were not called to carry out the wishes of Caesar.

We urge Christian leaders and right-thinking citizens, who love The Bahamas and our youth, to stand up and speak out against the legalization of recreational marijuana for the protection of our youth.

Too many of our young people, including school children, are addicted to marijuana right now and it will get worse.

We will not be deterred by the naysayers or those filled with greed, who are willing to sacrifice our children for the love of money.

Righteousness still exalts the nation and sin is a reproach (shame) to any people.

It is never too late to do the right thing.

We believe that persons convicted for possession of small amounts of marijuana should have their criminal records expunged.

We have been advocating this for over 20 years. Most of the convicts are victims of a broken system.

We urge members of Parliament to properly represent the people who elected them to serve and look out for the interests of their constituents and not the political agenda of the government.

Your day of reckoning in 2022 is fast approaching.

We anxiously look forward to the debate in Parliament after consultation with their constituents.

-Citizens For Justice Bahamas 

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