Caribbean Islands Look at Decriminalisation of Marijuana

Chief Justice Ivor Archie, of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, has recently suggested that the use of marijuana is small quantities should be decriminalised. His suggestion has been met with both support and condemnation from island residents, responses similar to the same debate in the U.S. The suggestion was made in an attempt to minimize the negative effects of treating as criminals a great many people who would otherwise be considered solid citizens and who are guilty of harming no one but themselves. There is also a growing concern over the cost to taxpayers and society of the “war on drugs” against a substance that clearly does not create the serious health conditions and damage to society that many other illegal substances do. Many people consider marijuana to be classified in the same category as a controlled substance, such as alcohol or tobacco and question why it is still criminalised.

In terms of cost, decriminalisation makes the most sense. The Economist, an internationally published magazine, recognizes the production, distribution and sale of illicit substances as one of the world’s major industries, comparable to big oil and the automotive industry. Success of the “war on drugs” is measured by the rise and fall of street prices of New York City. Drug prices have held steady over the decades, in spite of millions of dollars spent in the “war” against them. Decriminalisation of marijuana would cut those costs dramatically, though it is only one of many ilicit substances in question. Regulation and taxation of the substance could also bring in some much needed revenue to counter the expense of continuing the war against other illicit substances.

One last point to be made: it is important to remember that decriminalisation is NOT the same as approval. Once can disapprove of the consumption of alcohol without supporting prohibition, and one can disapprove of the use of tobacco without supporting its criminalisation. Similarly, marijuana can be decriminalised while still educating citizens about the potentially damaging effects its usage can have on the human body.

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Happy Labor Day!

For our readers in the United States, today is a day of rest to celebrate and acknowledge the contributions that workers across the nation have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of their country. At one time, Labor Day was celebrated with parades and with public speakers by well-known orators who highlighted the civil, public service aspect of the holiday. 

Today, Labor Day is often recognized as the official end of summer and the beginning of the school year, although many schools start much earlier now. Labor Day also kicks off many sports’ seasons, such as NFL Football and NASCAR racing, It marks the season finale for both NHRA drag racing and the U.S. Open Tennis Championships. 

In more recent times, Labor Day has become a very labor-filled day for retailers across the nation as more and more companies hold Labor Day sales, claiming it to be one of the biggest sales days of the year, second only to “Black Friday”- the day after Thanksgiving which kicks off the Christmas shopping season. Ironically, many employees who work in retail positions not only must work on the national holiday, but they work even MORE hours than usual! 

Here at ASC, we hope you are all celebrating the national holiday with rest, relaxation, and time with friends and family. We look forward to serving your drug testing needs for many years to come. 

Crackdown on Prescription Painkillers Causes More Pain

Many states are cracking down on pharmacies and medical facilities which provide high quantities of pain medications. While this crackdown is celebrated in many substance abuse recovery and intervention programs as a critical “win” in the fight against drug abuse, it is creating problems for patients who are legitimately ill or in pain. 

In 2010, Florida contained 90 of the top 100 pharmacies buying oxycodone for use in prescriptions. After a task force addressed the situation with over 2,000 arrests for both improper sales and over-prescription of painkillers, the sales of the drug dropped by 97% in Florida. 

The problem however, is that patients with debilitating diseases such as lupus and fibromyalgia, among others, are now experiencing extreme difficulty in getting the medication that they need to control the pain that critically impacts their lives. Patients wholly support regulation of the drugs and understand the danger of addiction and dependency, but feel that the regulation should not inhibit pharmacies from access to adequate quantities of the drug. 

In response to the heavy fines imposed and the arrests made, many pharmacies carry very limited supplies of the drugs needed for modern medications, and they are choosy about who they fill prescriptions for. Many will refuse to fill prescriptions for customers that they don’t know, making it difficult for individuals or families who re-locate to get established with a new healthcare provider and pharmacy for their medical care. This complication is expected to be compounded when the new federal healthcare legislation is fully implemented next year. 

Certainty? No worries!

“Certainty is the mother of quiet and repose, and uncertainty the cause of variance and contentions.”    – Edward Coke

One of the most recognizable causes of stress today is worry and uncertainty. When the things we have always taken for granted as being so are proven NOT to be so, it causes deep distress and worry. But worrying has never been reported as changing the future for anyone, so what can be done instead?

The best thing one can do in a world full of uncertainty, is to focus on the things that are certain, like sunrises, changing tides, the seasons, answers to prayer. Also, if you want more certainty in your life, do the right thing repeatedly until it becomes a habit. You can not control outer circumstances or other people and their responses, but you can control your own actions and responses. And continual practice helps turn good behaviors and positive responses into solid habits which will kick in without you having to think about it when things get stressful.

Life is full of uncertainties and surprises, but it works a lot better when we don’t create them ourselves. Stress is a symptom of not dealing well with uncertainty. When we know things work well a certain way, it pays to keep doing things the way we know will work. Certainty is something you build; it’s not a feeling that just happens.

For more posts like this, check out our book, Past Tense. Enjoy!