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Doctors Association VP: Legalize weed for medical use

Vice President of BVI Medical Doctors Association, Dr Craig Stoutt

At a time when California became the latest state in the US to legalize recreational marijuana use, the long-debated issue of decriminalizing the plant has once again emerged in the British Virgin Islands.

On one hand, persons said the territory should capitalize on what is being described as a multibillion-dollar industry that could create much-needed jobs and revenue. Meanwhile, others fear that relaxing local marijuana laws could hurt the BVI.

Vice President of the BVI Medical Doctors Association Dr Craig Stoutt and Social Commentator Douglas Wheatley, both agreed that marijuana should be legalized for medicinal purposes.

Dr Stoutt, however, told BVI News that he does not support legalization of marijuana for recreational use because it is a gateway drug.

“It can open the doors or avenues for use of other illicit drugs. Now, if it is going to be legalized for medicinal use, that is another story because it does have uses in that avenue. But for recreational use definitely not.”

Dr Stoutt said if it is used for medicinal purposes, there will be controlled barriers dictating how the drug should be used. On the other hand, he said authorities might have difficulty governing recreational use of the drug.

“There are many things to consider before they make a move with that,” Dr Stoutt reasoned.

Wheatley

Wheatley, in the meantime, said he foresees an economic boost in the BVI if marijuana is legalized or even decriminalized for medical purposes and otherwise.

He added that while he supports relaxing marijuana laws, the weed should be used in moderation. He further made it clear that he would not stand for drug abuse.

“What happens sometimes is it is mixed with other things that are more dangerous and deadly, and that creates a problem. But in its pure form, it’s a herb and it has medicinal purposes. Use that way and not in excess,” said Wheatley who, years ago, called for one of the greenhouses in Paraquita Bay to be used to cultivate marijuana.

And while stating that legalization could attract more visitors to the territory, Wheatley said he would not use marijuana as an advertising tool.

“I think if the people know that they can have it here and it’s not a crime and they want to come and participate, I don’t have a problem with that at all. And if they want to come in large numbers, I don’t have a problem with that either. But I am not sure if I want us to go and advertise that we have marijuana tourism.”

Douglas Wheatley

California legalized the drug at the start of the 2018 year. According to their new laws, persons 21 or older are allowed to possess up to one ounce of the drug.

This move comes ahead of Canada’s July 2018 target to become the second country on the planet to legalize recreational marijuana nationwide. Uraguay is the first.

BVI residents weigh in

Meanwhile, members of the public who also spoke on the matter had mixed reactions.

“My thing on that is it is a plant and you can’t make a plant illegal. It’s not a chemical, it’s not like something purified or manufactured. It’s just a plant. My opinion on that is it doesn’t really matter. It is just a plant. If people start smoking banana leaf, we would make it illegal too? It shouldn’t be illegal in the first place. Once the stigma is removed it will boost the economy. Once we have it legal and people can come here and get it. People will rush to get it so it will be good for tourism. It’s going to be good,” said one businessman.

One taxi operator who goes by the name Charlie’s Angel also supports relaxing the territory’s marijuana laws.

He said: “I really think they should legalize marijuana here for the younger generation. You legalize a quantity because you not going to stop them from doing what they want to do, so just legalize this thing. We would get a lot more tourists than we getting now. Irma and Maria came and everything slowed down, no kind of business going on for us now.”

Meanwhile, a local Rastafarian who goes by the monicker ‘Messiah’ said: “Yes, legalize a certain amount. There are a lot of smokers here.”

On the other hand, one female senior citizen who preferred to speak anonymously said: “We have crime here already, we don’t want to go selling marijuana. We live without that. My dead parents lived without that. Their parents lived without that, so I am not in favour of it. We are a rich country, we don’t need money from that.”

A hospitality worker from East End also shared the senior citizen’s views.

“It has benefits but it would also make a mess because it could go out of control. It is already out of control, it would only get worse. So I don’t think it should happen.”

Copyright 2018 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

31 Comments

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  1. Watcher says:

    Have there been any negative effects in the US states such as Colorado that have already legalised it?

  2. Please says:

    Marijuana messes up the mind of people every state that legalize it has regretted it.

    The problem is a lot of these doctors are not doing research for themselves only going off of what others write.

    Take a look around this island and see the turfs and the weed smoking that has destroyed our young people and most of it started when the Rasta law band was removed.

    • Research says:

      Please research what you are writing here. Colorado reported a one billion dollar revenue stream from the sale of marijuana. They do not have regrets nor horror stories. Why must we always be behind? People should be allowed to have the option of marijuana instead of all of these expensive drugs. Please join the 21st. Century.

      • Reality says:

        Sir you need to do the research. I know people who live there and who know the horror stories. And “Please” is right drive down the road and you would see the results of what Marijuana smoking has done.

        Obviously you have never had someone close battling drug addiction or at least cared. Its the same with alcohol see what it has done since been legal even in this society alot of young adults are alcoholics.

        • Puhleez! says:

          First of all marijuana is not a drug, neither is it addictive.

          • Almost says:

            Half right, it is a drug, just like how alcohol is a drug (though many don’t know that it is classify as such). But you are right, unlike alcohol, it isn’t additive.

  3. Hmm says:

    So true it destroy ..please not to legalize this substance

  4. Sam the man says:

    The BVI isn’t Amsterdam – if people think this is a wise policy to pursue then it will be extremely damaging

    • Oblivion says:

      ok so lets make drugs ok… in 6 months from now when everybody is high/wasted lets see what the state of the island is – Sam has a point and yet you negatively label his comments – v unwise

  5. No! says:

    It is not a gateway drug!

  6. My cents says:

    I think they should put the green house to use… grow it there then package it for export. I do not argree on legalizing it for young people to get the idea of being legal and smoke their lungs away. I think the strict rules should be implemented on medical use only and allow a research center for future developments. Exporting it to other regions for medical research.

    It’s time for us to start talking about it and not to brush it under the rug before others capitalize and benefit soon like our usvi neighbors.

  7. Albion says:

    What we need is sensible, open and honest debate on this subject. For far too long the debate has been driven by either by potheads on one side or the puritanical on the other. The voices of the sensible middle need to be heard. And then at the end of that debate, either the politicians can make a decision based upon the electorate’s wishes, or we can hold a referendum on the subject. But let’s do this in a mature fashion.

  8. ?????? says:

    If it’s a gateway drug then what is alcohol then…. marijuana has never killed anyone but count the alcohol related deaths. Legalize it!!!!!

  9. LIT says:

    Legalize it and stop hating!!!!
    Make alcohol illegal not weed! Weed don’t mess up people, people mess up people. Everyone so hating something God put on the earth for our consumption yet promoting going club and getting drunk like Alcohol is a Godly thing. Its a man made thing and kills!!!!!! Who overdoses on marijuana? Really who? Do the math’s!

  10. Reply says:

    Dr. Stoutt unfortunately is ill informed on the issue of marijuana being a gateway drug. It is not. Thats unfortunate because as a doctor he should know better.

    Nevertheless, I do agree that medicinal marijuana should be legalized and the laws pertaining to recreational use be relaxed.

    Reading the comments here, its clear to me that before we begin entertaining the idea of marijuana legalization in any form, people need to be educated on the issue and know what is being suggested before they opine especially against it.

    People seems to be confused on what medicinal marijuana is vs recreational.

    When one speaks of medicinal marijuana, what they are speaking of is not using marijuana in the traditional way, but using marijuana specific by products concentrated to produce a desired affect to treat various ailments.

    Most of those products are oil based, devoid of high THC content that is responsible for the high, and are being used to treat such ailments as epilepsy, nausea and insomnia in cancer patients, pain disorders, HIV/AIDs among other specified illness proven to be beneficial with marijuana treatment.

    I happen to prescribe medicinal marijuana in the State of NY and the State of Florida, and I can tell you without hesitation that those states along with others and the scientific community would not have approved its use if the science was not there. I also see the benefits of its use among those I prescribe it to.

    I am not wanting for clients as many people prefer marijuana over approved drugs that comes quite often with intolerable side effects. Not every one can get it, and the process is tightly regulated from what ailments qualifies for medicinal marijuana treatment to what doctors or health practitioners can prescribe it.

    The truth is, many of us especially of the older generation have been misinformed about marijuana. We didnt know better then, but we have no reason now to hide from the science.

    The folks using marijuana on the streets looking disheveled are not the typical marijuana user recreationally, nor the typicall patient seeking medicinal marijuana. The oeople I see are typically very sick and often dying people who are quite often out of medical options.

    Thus, people should not make a judgement based on some stoned person on the street. You never know what life has in store fir you as the years go by, and some of you against medicinal marijuana might just find yourselves in the future considering it as one of your few options.

    There are people who legitimately benefit from medicinal marijuana, and if I should ever find myself in a situation of intractable illness where medicinal marijuana prove benefical, I would not hesitate for a second to try it despite I have never used marijuana before.

    The bottom line for me is medicinal marijuana at this point and time should be a treatment option for selected ailments and patients. It should be part of the pharmaceutical formulary.

    As for recreational marijuana, I have stated on this forum repeatedly for years that I believe it should be decriminalized. Nothing more to add.

    • dude says:

      Are you writing a thesis or are you defending your Phd. Proposal? 😊

      The good Doctor is probably just old fashion and conservative. So am I, but I think they do need to legalize marijuana because like the U.S. locking up our black young men in particular, over weed that is not harmful just ruins their young lives while our Caucasian brothers and sisters get treated with kiddie gloves both in BVI and US with no adverse impact on their lives when caught with weed. They also are becoming millionaires from weed while our guys are locked up…it now boils down to economics and “keeping us in our place” so to speak. It’s time for that kind of disparate treatment to be done away with.

      If you noticed the Caucasians lobbied state law makers to legalized weed because they saw it as a business opportunity….Colorado in particular saw it as an opportunity to increase revenues in the form of business taxes collected.

  11. listen says:

    They know why they are making Marijuana legal in the USA..BECAUSE once the government gets their hands on the pure plant it will soon become a GMO Plant..the Cloning of Ganga, then we will have a generation of spaced out people, walking around like zombies and not knowing self, in he BVI now we can have better control over it medically…but any sort of smoking it not good for the brains of our youths, a male brain is fully developed at the age of 25, have you noticed how our children look and behave? The PLANT will always get a bad rap because that’s the only thing most people care for…poor ganga

  12. Youngin says:

    Low de herb!

  13. Gumption.Official says:

    Stop saying it’s a gate way drug. It’s not! If a person(s) choose to experiment in life they will regardless. But marijuana is not a gate way drug.

    • Watcher says:

      It could be argued that people are less likely to use harder drugs if marijuana was legalised and always available. Currently it may happen that no marijuana is available due to law enforcement or other interruptions to the underground supply chain. In these circumstances people might look for alternatives like crack cocaine or crystal meth which are certainly much more dangerous and addictive than weed.

  14. Yes says:

    Alcohol should be illegal it makes u stupid and makes u ack the fool weed makes you wise ayo got this thing backward

    • Hmmm says:

      Educated me please on how this drug make you wise? Alcohol do have its ill effect on people and this is because some folks abuse the use of the spirits. I look forward for the educational tour by blogger “yes”.

  15. B Savage says:

    Stoutt I nearly LOSE OFF OF YOU! Gateway drug? The PRESCRIPTIONS FOR DEPRESSION YOU GIVE IS A GATEWAY DRUG King. Politics aside just be real, while we talk fraught the ENTIRE CAUCASIAN USA reaping the rewards.

    We stuck on 2 pillars FINACIAL SERVICES and TOURISM smh.

  16. Prophet says:

    In med school you learned that nicotine found in cigarettes is the gateway drug to other drugs such as cocaine yet your saying marijuana which was lie popular in the 70’s. Marijuana is a gateway to eating more & sleeping good.

    So stick with the facts your opinion or that of your parents is not necessary.

  17. 9th district says:

    Its not a drug its a herb nobody ever overdose on weed no matter how u use it. Smoke drink or as oil FACTS

  18. Watcher says:

    The other aspect to this argument is the reality of what people actually do. The USA once tried to ban acohol. It didnt work because many otherwise law abiding people continued to drink even when it was illegal. And as everyone knows, making alcohol illegal did not reduce crime, it greatly increased serious crime associated with the supply of illegal alcohol.

    The situation with marijuana in the BVI is exactly the same as it was with alcohol during prohibition in the USA. The reality is that people who want to use it will do so , illegal or not. And there are a lot of them.

    But the illegality brings associated crime just as it did during alcohol prohibition.

    So legalise it. End marijuana prohibition.

  19. Watcher says:

    There is also the economic argument. Marijuana grows easily in BVI ( i am told ). Perhaps , legalised , it could be become an export crop for the country, exporting to the likes of Oregon and Colorado where it is hard to grow. Plus in the not too distant future , most of the countries of Europe where it will soon be legalised and where it is very hard to grow.

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