Lloyd: Students need to be educated about effects of marijuana

As the government eyes the decriminalization of marijuana, Education Minister Jeffrey Lloyd said yesterday he supports the “enhancement of the education program” to include substances like marijuana.

“[Y]es, I endorse an enhancement of the education program that we must have around substances, not only marijuana, but all substances that can alter one’s consciousness,” Lloyd said.

“You know, people are abusing now today legal drugs because again they are not aware of the potential dangers that these impose if they are not used and handled in a proper fashion.”

He added, “We have already been doing that in our social studies programs, in our health science programs. We have talked about the effects of dangerous drugs.”

The minister said such a program would be introduced to students “from the very beginning”, noting that preschoolers at the age of three would be taught about the effects of mind-altering drugs.

He said it would work “according to their ability to understand”.

“…[W]e need to get it at the earliest stages of life so that they can begin to grow up in an environment of an awareness of what is dangerous and what is to be handled in the way that is effective and proper,” Lloyd said.

In July 2018, CARICOM Regional Commission on Marijuana recommended the declassification of marijuana as a dangerous drug in all legislation and the reclassification of the drug as a controlled substance, noting it should be treated similarly to tobacco and alcohol.

One month later, Cabinet approved the makeup of a committee that will examine the issue of marijuana in The Bahamas and make recommendations to the government.

Its recommendations will then be tabled and discussed in Parliament.

If marijuana is decriminalized, the government will embark on a “vigorous” education campaign, according to Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis.

Last month he said the campaign will be aimed at different sectors of society, including high school students.

“I think education is very, very important,” the prime minister said.

“We must advance or commence some educational process so that our young people, our families, everyone would understand the whole process, understand what we’re doing, understand how it may benefit you, etc.

“The problems with society is not necessarily marijuana or alcohol. The problem is the upbringing.”

He noted that some parents give their young children alcohol thus leading the children to get “hooked on those things”.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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