Former top Cop: Jail for ganja ruining lives

Former top cop, Cuthbert Phillips, has asserted that jailing of young people for small quantities of marijuana is ruining their lives.

Phillips told the Times he has seen this over the years.

“But the law is the law,” he explained.

“I remember one time or the other I tried to catalogue a number of young persons who had gone in there for that and I think one way or another we destroyed a lot of young lives,” Phillips told the Times during an interview.

He said:

“These fellows are young – you send them inside there with hardened criminals when the prisons are overcrowded – we know what happens.”

The former top cop asserted that it was time to bring the situation to a halt.

“We have seen what is happening all over the world,” Phillips said, adding that it was time to correct matters.

Asked about decriminalizing marijuana, Phillips was of the opinion that certain regulations have to be in place.

“We have seen what has happened in other areas we learn by it and then you can put certain regulations into place, rather than have a whole bunch of young people languishing in prison and for what?” He said.

Phillips served as Commissioner of Police in Saint Lucia from 1982 to 1988.

Just this week retired Justice, Albert Redhead, said he did not think it fitting to jail someone convicted for possession of a “spliff.”

Redhead said:

“One should not be criminalized for having a spliff. If one is caught with a joint, I don’t think he should be penalized to the extent of being sent to prison. There’s the alternative of probation; probation works sometimes.”

At the same time the retired Judge stressed that marijuana use is not something that he condones.