I think this is an issue that’s not cut and dried yet. The jury is still out and therefore an absolute consensus on the legalization verdict is still moot. With every seemingly logical and definitive argument for legalization, there’s also an equally valid and/or effective counter argument. So I say that we not rush into it.
I’m sure there is a lot of useful and relevant information (scientific and otherwise) to consider before a better, informed and educated approach is taken. There also needs to be some education on the part of potential users, law enforcement personnel, government and health officials and members of society on the whole subject. In fact some of the states and places that have legalized marijuana are finding out some unsuspected issues and results. Colorado for example, which legalized marijuana two years ago, claimed to have made good money from it, however, that money goes right back to paying for the rising costs of resulting problems (ER visits, health issues, drugged driving, addiction, etc.). It’s a vicious cycle. Marijuana has been proven to have negative and harmful effects on the brain and other organs. And as for law enforcement benefits as claimed, here’s a citation (no pun intended) from a report on the Colorado law:
“Jackson, former president of the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police, and other police officials said legalization simply moved much faster than law enforcement officers’ ability to keep up with it. Jackson, who sounded beleaguered in an interview, said a fallacy of legalization is that it would give law enforcement time back to focus on more serious, complicated criminal issues and bigger drug problems. Two years and two months into full legalization, he said, “we’re not seeing that.”
According to the report, one of the biggest problems with legalized marijuana – and difference from alcohol – is in the infused edibles such as candy bars and other products especially with the dangers they have on children. The normalization aspect of marijuana use on children is one of my own biggest concerns.
So, at the very least, I’d say that Samoa is not ready yet – socially, medically, technologically, legally, financially, etc. – for legalized marijuana, especially recreational marijuana. It surely is going to be a heavily regulated business when implemented.
One thing I hate to see is when our people start using more land, time and energy cultivating cannabis ae le faia ma’umaga ma isi fa’ako’aga. Ia sa’o ai loa le kala a Pekelo, “…makua oki a le mea a kakou.” Pun intended (re: maliu-aga). lol!