Members of the House are turning against a medical marijuana bill, citing recent horrific crimes on the island and fears they may be linked to the use of cannabis.
Legislation to legalise cannabis for medicinal use has been moving forward in many countries, including Cyprus, but the bill has been stuck in the House health committee due to fear that marijuana is linked to crime.
Recent media reports of horrific crimes, including a double murder in Strovolos, drew links between murders and the use of cannabis, prompting MP’s to request a postponement of medical marijuana legislation.
Last week, a police shooting was carried out by a known local drug lord, who has been arrested, with Paphos Mayor Phedonas Phedonos criticising the police for not actively trying to combat illicit drug trafficking.
Studies show that other countries where there was at least partial legalisation of cannabis, crime actually fell, including in several states in the US bordering Mexico
But the connection between drug use and violent crime remains unclear, as proponents of legalising pot say casual users at the individual level are not in the same category with criminals who fight each other to make money in the illegal trade.
What does science say about legalising pot
Studies show that other countries where there was at least partial legalisation of cannabis, crime actually fell, including in several states in the US bordering Mexico.
A study by the Economic Journal last year showed that violent crime rates, including robberies, aggravated assault, and murders, fell by 12.5 percent in counties close to the southern border after medical marijuana laws had been introduced.
“Results are consistent with the theory that decriminalisation of the production and distribution of marijuana leads to a reduction in violent crime in markets that are traditionally controlled by Mexican drug trafficking organizations,” according to the study.
The House health committee members say they are not opposed to the government enacting special regulations to assist individuals who are in need of cannabis for medical reasons.
But they say cops will end up having bigger problems if the medicinal marijuana bill passes the House, citing fears that the bill would require police to monitor production and open many fronts that would put pressure on the authorities.