Martha Dismont On Cannabis Legislation

March 26, 2022 | 5 Comments

Martha Dismont has offered her thoughts on the possibility of the island legalizing cannabis, saying “I pray that this is given more thought.”

Martha Dismont, Managing Director for Catalyst Consulting, said, “Bermuda’s social challenges have increased over the past 20 years, in part due to the pipeline that is fueling uneducated, unskilled, underemployed young, and now, older adults. That pipeline tends to carry aspects such as the lack of suitable education for some, the unaddressed multi-generational trauma for others, the high cost of living and unaffordable housing for many, and the loss of jobs for 6% of the population.

“Some concerns expressed by service providers in Bermuda is that the passing of the cannabis legislation, while popularly supported by many, will send a message to an already struggling and addicted percentage of our youth population that smoking weed is a significant norm in society and should be embraced.

“These are the young people who already are unable to get a job or hold a job, or fit into society and act out in anger for his/her negative experiences which have landed them in their very difficult circumstances. It is often masked by the use of cannabis to numb the disappointment. Those who choose to smoke cannabis for pleasure may be celebrating the eventuality of the legislation being brought into law.

Calif statistics Bermuda March 25 2022

“Those of us who are servicing the population who struggles with it are not celebrating. This increased access will make our jobs much more difficult. We are disappointed that the research citing the negative impacts on the introduction of the legalized sale of cannabis into communities is not taken more seriously. Some of the statistics from the US, where cannabis has been legalized in several states for the past 10 years, is the followin

[Statistics from the State of Colorado]

  • Increase in hospital and emergency room visits; in particular in California, where emergency room visits associated with cannabis was 25,088 in 2005 and has skyrocketed to 236,954 visits in 2019.
  • Increase in road traffic deaths [135% increase when testing positive for cannabis]
  • 35% increase in use by 12 years and older/19% increase in use by adults
  • Increase in suicide rate – 14% in 2013 to 23% in 2018, when cannabis found in the body
  • Increase in black market arrests – increased access and a disregard of the regulations and restrictions have resulted in more criminality and arrests

“With these potential threats to an already fragile social fabric, it doesn’t seem wise to introduce legislation which hasn’t been tested and is more likely to compound an already volatile situation. The inability of government, non-profit, and private agencies to adequately manage and address these growing social challenges should be concerning to all.

Cannabis article Bermuda March 25 2022

“There has been expressed concern for the increased levels of mental and emotional trauma from the effects of Covid-19, and greater concern for unaddressed mental illness. The review of the literature as described by the Inter Agency Committee for Children and Families shows associations of cannabis use with the following outcomes [all of which increase as frequency of use does]: schizophrenia and other psychoses, depression, anxiety, suicide, social anxiety disorders, and cognitive impairment.

“For decades service providers have worked to ‘fix the broken man [or woman]’ in society. We all know who these heroes are who have worked tirelessly to bring forward the best of those who deserve a second or third chance to show their value in society. We should all know by now that the question can no longer be asked of Johnny ‘why did you do that?’, but more compassionately, ‘What has happened to you, Johnny?’

“We must be more curious about the circumstances that has led to the shootings, the stabbings, the anger and the wanton disregard for others property and lives. If we don’t figure this out now, we will certainly find that Bermuda’s economic woes will be the ’tip of the iceberg’ for this society, and no magic wand will change the circumstances that we may find ourselves in.

“For whatever financial gain is thought to be achieved by bringing this legislation into law, it should not be a substitute for the potential increased access for our under-aged young adults, and the potential greater loss to our population as a result of suicide, mental illness, road incidents, and the loss of one’s livelihood. I pray that this is given more thought.”

The full Review of Legalisation of Cannabis Consequences in Colorado follows below [PDF here]:

click here Bermuda cannabis decriminalization

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Comments (5)

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  1. ??? says:

    What does California’s Stats have to do with Bermuda? STOP COMPARING Bermuda to places that would have OBVIOUS differences for OBVIOUS reasons (ie. amount of people per state, amount of sources or dispensaries in said state(s), to purchase from.) Leave all the comparisons and other happenings alone and just stick to BERMUDA STATS.

  2. Vortex says:

    No Caribbean countries have legalized cannabis, this is the act of a desperate government. LISTEN to people like Martha, those people who will have to pick up the pieces.

    As far as I can see this Government wants a fight with the UK, this is more about independence than legal weed. And we’ve already said no to that.

  3. Morris Malone says:

    Alcohol, cigarettes, cocaine,heroin,opium,hashish etc, have they been compared to weed and there effects. But alcohol and cigarettes are legal.

  4. Question says:

    We will regret this for decades.

  5. Ringmaster says:

    I think the telling point about the vote is if you remove Cabinet votes that have to vote Yes, more PLP MP’s abstained than voted Yes. It’s a cowardly way out and they should have voted No. As it is written it is not a Bill that is supported by the the majority of backbench PLP MPs. Add 12 abstentions to the OBA 6 and you get 18 votes effectively against the legislation, and 18 for. This is no way to ram through ill conceived legislation.

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