If the Government St. Kitts-Nevis really wants to reduce the rate of murders, my sincere advice is to free up the ganja.” I am serious, but I don’t mean share it out freely.” I mean decriminalize it, stop chasing down young men to see if they have any spliffs and stop locking them up if they have.” Stop rummaging the mountains in search of the fields of green marijuana, and stop charging heavy fines for those who sell cannabis to make a living. Don’t get me wrong.” I am not advocating the use of weed.” Some people claim that it does wonders to their health; while others think that it is harmful and addictive. Some say silly things, like when Nigel Carty said that the youth take in their ganja and get high and kill one another. What is silly about Carty’s position is that he has got the problem wrong, dangerously and strategically wrong, and it is this very wrong posture that prevents our society from properly diagnosing the causes of our youths” criminal violence. I do not know if Mr. Carty and those who think like him are really unaware of why these young fellows get so angry that they would stalk and kill each other.” I find it most difficult to believe that they are ignorant.” I”d rather think that they are hiding their heads in the sand and do not want to face the truth. It is not a real secret that young men are cultivating marijuana in the hills and that they acquire the guns to defend their ganja fields from those who do not have the energy to plant and would rather steal and sell what others plant. Although under the present laws of St. Kitts-Nevis the cultivation of marijuana is a crime; many young men are forced by circumstances to make this their means of livelihood.”” Just remember that according to our laws, it is illegal to be caught cultivating ganja, so if a chap has his cultivation, another chap could raid his field and then be seen selling ganja on the market. The thief would get away with it because the rightful owner of the patch cannot go to the police to complain of the praedial larceny. Outside of the law there is a sense of rightness and wrongness, which is called natural justice. Both the planter and the thief know how natural justice works and both of them know that it is wrong to encroach on another’s property and steal.” The owner of the patch decides that since he has no recourse to the law he will take the law into his own hands, apply natural justice and satisfy his sense of outrage by shooting to kill whoever he catches stealing his weed. Many months ago, two young fellows from Buckleys were found dead in the hills. Rumor has it that they were heard planning to go to the mountains to collect their supplies of the weed.” One was dead in a ganja field, the other was in close proximity as if he was running away when he was being shot.”” To my knowledge, nobody was arrested or charged with the double murder committed in an apparent effort to protect and defend a patch of marijuana. More recently, I sent a group of boys to the hills to cut sticks for their fish pots.” After they had waded through bush and high grass, they suddenly emerged on a patch “” a large field of green.”” They stood in their tracks stunned at the sight. They spontaneously faced each other and then just as spontaneously they took off on the double not stopping until they reached the nearby village. In their collective horror they imagined an armed gun man waiting for them in ambush. Great expectations are built around a field of green.” The successful planter can make thousands of dollars by selling his weed in the ghettos and at the tourist resorts.” For the planter of ganja, this is the only hope for him in life.” With the money accruable from his work, he dreams of a nice girl friend to whom he could give jewelry, a nice new car to take her and her youth driving, a nice big house with all the modern furniture and amenities, located on a nice piece of land where he can raise his dogs and cats and plant exotic fruit trees. He knows that this is the only work which can give him this dramatic uplift from the poverty of the ghetto.” He could find work as a construction hand or environmental helper but this would keep him poor; unable to provide for his girl and his youth, unable to dwell in anything better than a shack. He can’t do better for he is not academically qualified to hold a job in a bank, an insurance company or in a government office, but he rejects the opportunities which will keep him and his family tied to poverty and he chooses to employ himself by finding a hidden spot in the bush, cleaning it up and establishing a field of green.” He cares for the plants and leaves the rest to the hand of God Almighty who sends the rain and the sunshine to nurture the field. That is the young man’s work. It is called self-employment.” It is hard work toiling in the hot sun.” It is dangerous work always fraught with the risk that an armed detail of soldiers would descend on him without notice.”” It is frustrating work.” Many a time when the plants are just about to mature the army drops in armed with modern weapons backed up by a big commotion and proceed to pull up the trees, hundreds of trees and bundle them away to be burned.” Sometimes the young man is lodged in a tree from a distance looking on as months of hard work seem headed for the furnace, as his dream of a new car and the new house he would buy from the money melt into thin air. Anybody would agree that this is heartbreaking, and anybody would agree that this is enough to make a young man angry. I believe the situation could change dramatically if young men who wish to cultivate marijuana were allowed to do so freely and peacefully and if the law would come to their aid by making itself available to hear their complains against trespassing on their domain. Right now only those who have the guts or who are reckless take the risk of cultivating the weed against the law.” When the ban is lifted and ganja planting is no longer illegal, those who are now afraid to plant their own, will develop their own fields of green to cultivate.” All the ganja planters would become rich by supplying ganja to those who use it locally but to the many tourists who would flock to our shores to relax and chill out on the weed. Ask the lawmakers what is wrong with Ganja and they will stammer out some gibberage about narcotics and addiction.”” Press them further to explain why the same severity is not visited on alcohol and tobacco which are far more harmful to the body and they will stammer without answering. The truth is that although Cannabis sativa is a narcotic like rum, whiskey, vodka and beer, it does not result in the violence which is associated with these liquids.” Men have killed their once charming brides in a drunken stupor.” Most of the accidents on the road are caused by alcohol.” Cigarettes, manufactured from the tobacco is a serious health hazard.” All of these are far worse than marijuana by their more serious social and individual impact. The answer which the authorities won’t give is that the reason why ganja is outlawed is that it cannot be successfully produced in the United States of America like tobacco and alcohol products.” When the traffic in cannabis gathered momentum in Europe and America in the early 1900’s some people in America decided that too many American dollars would have to leave America to pay for this commodity.” Britain was pressured to out law the commodity, in her colonies not for any harm that it was doing to her people but for the drain it was causing to the United States Dollar. It is time to lift the ban and give our young farmers a chance to cultivate the fields of Green.
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