Former Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Doctor Stephen King, believes that marijuana should be legalized rather than decriminalized.
“If I had my way I would legalize marijuana,” King said.
He was speaking today to Journalist, Timothy Poleon, during the Radio Caribbean International (RCI) call in programme – Newsspin.
King, an Independent Senator, asserted that if marijuana is legalized a legislative framework can be put in place to regulate its use.
He expressed the view that revenue can be generated from the herb.
That revenue, he suggested, can be used in public health education.
It was King’s opinion that the majority of people in this country have used marijuana.
“What we need is a public health approach and not a criminal response, because a criminal response drives the practice underground and leaves it unregulated, uncontrolled and hence we get the problems that we are seeing,” King said.
“I would say legalize it and make this thing above board and provide education to make sure that young people don’t have free access to it as they do right now.”
According to him, Saint Lucia can even begin producing the type of marijuana that is not going to be as harmful.
“If people decide to use it the added benefit is that we can exploit it for medical use,” he argued.
Asked why the authorities seem reluctant to either legalize or decriminalize marijuana, King asserted that it was a matter of politics.
“Politicians do not want to do something that will hurt their popularity,” the Independent Senator declared.