SEVERAL Muslim organisations, representing over 90 per cent of TT Muslims, have recommended that an independent analysis detailing the pros and cons of the decriminalisation of marijuana be done before any changes to the existing law.
In paid newspaper advertisements, the organisations said TT is once again witnessing the triumph of “economic imperatives” over ethical values.
They said their opposition to decriminalisation is not only based on the Islamic prohibition of the use of intoxicants, but that such a reversal of the law “dramatically departs” from the shared national values of equity, justice and preservation of human life and dignity.
The groups also noted that they could not support the “cultivation, use, distribution and trade of any substance categorised as an intoxicant or mind-altering substance.” They said moves to decriminalise is based on a “superficial knowledge” of the plant which is also empirically unsound.
The groups said marijuana has two main components- cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
THC acts on certain receptors in the brain and produces the well-known psychoactive “high” which is also responsible for the addictive potential of marijuana. They note, the greater the percentage between THC and CBD gives rise to a “more potent psychoactive effect.”
They said while medical marijuana has been touted as a “cure-all” for a vast number of illnesses, it has only shown to be effective on two generically determined forms of epilepsy- Lennox Gastaut and Dravet’s syndrome.
The groups cited findings by leading local neurologist Dr Azad Esack who said chronic usage of the drug is associated with atrophy (shrinking) of certain parts of the brain. Dr Esack also said young users are at particular risk as marijuana has a significant effect on the still developing brain.
The organisations said without the proper social infrastructure, the decriminalisation would result in disaster and warned it is not the solution to the pressing issue of gang violence. The organisations include the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah Institute; the Anjuman Sunnat ul Jamaat Association (ASJA); Trinidad Muslim League; Darul Uloom TT; Muslims of TT AND Islamic Da’wah Movement.