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Ivan Butcher II Ivan Butcher II
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Posted By: Ivan Butcher II on November 30, 2020

Double Dipping!

After profiting for decades from incarcerating Us, is the plan now to continue, to profit from the sale to Us?

A loss and a waste of talent are those youth arrested for selling Marijuana. Some of them with serious business marketing skills: supply and demand, pricing, quality control, customer relationship, distribution, marketing, etc...

The missed opportunity here is that their rehabilitation should have been training in accounting, business administration, financing, marketing, sales, etc...

It is not too late, to now give these offenders the training and the opportunity to work legally, offering their services to the public at large.

Written Testimony
Ivan Butcher II

owner of

The Butcher Shop
"Cut To Your Taste"
Custom Designing and Art Services
My Reasoning for Supporting Legislation for the Decriminalization of Marijuana in the U. S. Virgin Islands

submitted to

The Office of the Honorable Senator Craig A. Barshinger

November 16, 2009

Ivan Butcher II

The Butcher Shop
P.O. Box 2892
Christiansted, St. Croix
U. S. V. I. 00822

My Reasoning for Supporting Legislation for the Decriminalization of Marijuana in the U. S. Virgin Islands are many.

For the Records:

I did not! I have not! I am not encouraging or promoting the use of Marijuana by anyone.

In my initial testimony on this issue, I merely listed that the Decriminalization of Marijuana should be a consideration, toward addressing the impact it would have on our potential to attract tourists from some of the larger islands, if they were to make such a Legislative change.

My focus was on my needs as a small business owner. My testimony was to address my needs and those of many other artisans, for trained competent workers capable of completing arts and craft projects for marketing on a larger scale for exporting.

My intention was not to focus on the decriminalization of marijuana, but for good reasons, which I have referenced, I am going to step up to the challenge.

Senator Barshinger invited me to submit a compelling argument and said that he would back it with a legislative bill. There is too much data and information out there that has already passed legislation in many of the states for me not to follow up.

When I think of the pharmaceutical commercials, their disclaimers list all of the possible side effects from the use and over use of their products; after listening to the side effects, which are so much worst than the original ailment, users end up having to take yet another prescription for those negative effects and then maybe another for the side effects from that prescription. Then the users/patients find themselves addicted to prescription ****.

pg.2 Reasoning

My comparison of the use of marijuana versus the taking of prescription **** is that the social and economic side effects of continuing to maintain the current laws, on simple possession and the use of marijuana here in territory, are far more devastating than any physical, emotional or psychological side effects from the use of marijuana.

Health Reasons


Marijuana as a medicinal herb has been proven to be useful and
effective in the treatment of: Chronic Severe Pain, Glaucoma,
Cancer, ****/HIV, Chronic Muscle Spasms, Multiple Sclerosis,
GERD, Seizure Disorders, Crohn's Disease, Chronic Nausea,
Cachexia, Asthma, Hepatitis C, Parkinson's Disease, Arthritis and many others pain relief — particularly of neuropathic pain ( pain from nerve damage) — nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement
disorders. Marijuana is also a powerful appetite stimulant,
specifically for patients suffering from HIV, the **** wasting
syndrome, or dementia. Emerging research suggests that
marijuana's medicinal properties may protect the body against some types of malignant tumors and are neuron-protective.

Before some of the more recent laboratory findings, most of the studies were first based on thousands of years of use by the different cultures. Marijuana had been one of the many herbs that were used by the healers. Even here in our own culture, marijuana was used by the elders for some of the same aliments mentioned above: asthma, pain, arthritis, glaucoma, nausea, insomnia, appetite stimulant, etc.

Many cultures used marijuana and other intoxicating plants not only for relaxation and medicinal reasons, but also during their celebrations, ceremonies and other gatherings. Some of these plants were used to reach spiritual communion with their ancestors.

pg. 3 My Reasoning

Maybe if the Native American had kept his pipe and put down the bottle, America's history would be a lot more different, today.

I was asked if I am including other controlled intoxicating substances like mushrooms, crack, ****, etc. I personally have no objection to the use of organic stimulants, especially when not abused have medicinal benefits. Nor do I have a problem with an Adult, who chooses to use processed **** like crack ****, LSD, amphetamines, depressants, alcohol, cigarettes, sugar and prescription ****, etc., for the sole purpose of getting high, so long as they are not **** the rights and safety of others, especially children.

My question is, with little or no medicinal benefits from the use of these ****, why continue such a harmful practice?

I mentioned sugar. Studies show that the side effects associated with the over ingestion of sugar and caffeine not only give the user the same euphoric effect that **** does, but it also creates the same negative side effects of addiction and withdrawal.

Yes, the candy pushers in and around our schools are partially responsible for what is happening in our educational system, today. From the start of the school day, children come to school hyped up on sugar and caffeine; by lunchtime, those who weren't now are; so the rest of the school day is affected by students crashing, going through withdrawals and are bouncing off the walls.

I would say that most candy sellers are not aware that their motivation is the same as that of the drug dealers, which is to make money, regardless of the detrimental impact their products have on their customers/victims.

For the Christian Opponents, Who Need Biblical Validation

Genesis 1:29-30:

Then God said, ÒBehold, I have given you every plant yielding seed
that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit
yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to every beast of the
earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on
the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food;
and it was so.

pg.4 My Reasoning

Dr. Francisco Contreras, Internal Surgeon and a leading advocate of alternative cancer therapy, has a video presentation discussing the fact that most of his patients are the devout Christians who deny themselves of all the pleasures of the flesh except for gluttony. Worse yet, they are eating too much of all of the wrong foods according to the Bible.

Some of the biggest opponents to the decriminalization of marijuana are intoxicated on prescription **** for aliments attributed to their poor diets and their sedentary lifestyles. For these individuals to continue to deny others the right to their choice to use natural alternative herbs/medicines is the real crime.

A major concern I have is how physicians have children on dangerous, addictive **** with life threatening side effects to control and modify their sometimes disruptive and destructive behavior. Those same children can be given the same assistance with the ingredients from an organic herb like marijuana.

Studies show that marijuana is just as and even more effective when ingested, eliminating the smoking-related illnesses altogether.

A valid and strong rationalization is that once it is made available, more people who may never have tried marijuana would suddenly become addicted. If that was the case why isn't cigarette smoking a major health issue here in our community?

I recently chaperoned some visitors to the island, and one of the ladies lit up a cigarette. I guess because of the way I looked at her, she responded by asking if I would be offended. I told her no and said that it was unusual to see someone black smoking cigarettes here, especially a woman. She said that was something that she had realized when others had given her the same look.

Everything is not for everybody.

Yes, there will be an increase of new users, and yes, some may become chronic users, but it cannot have as bad of an impact as alcoholism has on an individual. Some of the same chronic aliments associated with alcoholism, marijuana is used to alleviate.

Knowing when enough is enough will be every new user's reality.

pg. 5 My Reasoning

I can remember the way youthful experimenting with alcohol and cigarettes was handled years ago they would give you so much that you would experience the worst of the effects.

After lifting their faces out of the toilet, some would swear that they will never do it again. But, there are those who will never learn.

I remember chaperoning some students on an off-island field trip to Puerto Rico. When we were in Old San Juan, at a fast food restaurant, there were people around the area, some with open sores on their faces, hands, arms, legs and feet. So, I asked one of the police officers why were they out like that in and around the public. He said, So that the public can see firsthand what are the consequences of using ****.

When dealing with children, scare tactics are not the approach for comprehensive results. Simply explaining the pros and cons of the use of marijuana and that the laws are there to protect them would be the more realistic procedure. Then, as adults, they will have the same option to use or not use cigarettes, liquor, beer, wine, over the counter ****, etc.

Not all will try or continue to use ****, once they have learned a lesson or two from experimenting.

During a first aid and CPR training session that I was giving to a group of youth workers for the Anti-Litter and Beautification Summer Spruce Up Program, I had the trainees each share an emergency incident that they witnessed or were involved in. This one youth told about the time he ended up in the hospital after running wild and **** in the street. He and some friends had gathered some mushrooms and eaten them. He put his into a Doubles sandwich, because of the taste, so he was able to eat more. My point made to the group was that, in some cases, you may not even know that you have been drugged.

Children from an early age are taught about the danger of fire, and you don't have to put their hand in it to make it perfectly clear to them. Now, the hardened ones sometimes have to learn by consequence.

The laws are and should be essential in the protecting of our children from self-destruction and from being preyed upon or being victimized by adults.

To tell a kid, Just Say NO to ****, is meaningless. There has to be alternative, creative and productive options to engage them.

What happened to that good old Christian proverb, Idle Hands are the Devil's Workshop.

pg. 6 My Reasoning

With my many years of experiences on the junior high school level, I have met very few children who if given something fun and interesting to do would not get involved. Once they are challenged, I could guarantee that they will not waste their time sitting somewhere nodding, while their peers are having fun, especially not those who have focus and are looking to excel.

Now there will always be those few who will rebel and challenge authority. Reflecting on the rebellious youth reminds me of a question asked of a guest batik artist from The Gambia, West Africa, during an assembly at the Elena L. Christian, Jr. High School.

He was asked, "What rights do children have in is country?" His answer was, "Children in my country have only two rights, to listen and to do. A child must listen to everything the father tells them, and to do what the mother tells them to do."

Economic Benefits and Losses

The decriminalization of marijuana in the territory would demonstrate foresight. The trend is growing on the mainland and other parts of the world to decriminalize organic ****, much like how it is controlled in Amsterdam. To banned it for medicinal use is purely political economics. In fact lessening the penalty for simple possession and providing the ability to purchase it through licensed businesses would take out the street profit appeal and reduce crime.

I would endorse HOME GROWN, HOME OWNED.

The first island to adapt an open policy toward the use of marijuana, there will be a surge in their visitors, not to gamble, but to enjoy what the whole of the Caribbean has to offer the world: sun, sand and sea.

As things exist here, local cultivators of Marijuana are arrested and harassed, while imported, often tainted commercial, Marijuana floods the local market, and all of that money leaves the territory. This is lost revenue from taxes and from that money circulating in our communities. Some of these foreign suppliers are not only sifting out millions of dollars from the economy, they are using the same moneys to buy up major companies and properties. In addition, there is some proof that moneys are used as financial support for **** against American interests.

7 My Reasoning

Another loss and a waste of talent are those youth arrested for selling ****. Some of them with serious business marketing skills: supply and demand, pricing, quality control, customer relationship, distribution, marketing, etc... but with the wrong commodities.

The missed opportunity here is that their rehabilitation should be training in accounting, business administration, financing and sales. This would provide these offenders with the opportunity to still work independently and they would be able to legally offer their services to their peer entrepreneurs and the public at large.

What has been unfair and unjust is that we never hear of White residents, tourists and/or visitors being arrested in the territory for possession, sales or for cultivating marijuana.

Why is that? Do only the locals use marijuana?

Another ill affect of the current laws for the use and possession of marijuana are the destroyed lives. Too often families are the true victims. When a productive parent is jailed taken from the home, loses his or her livelihood, and then further is handicapped by a criminal history, the children end up wards of the state and on welfare. Worse yet, too often these were working, tax-paying citizens, who sit idle in prison, while the community has to support them. What happened to retribution? I have a serious problem accepting that it is cost effective to house and feed someone for the possession of marijuana. A fine or, even better, community service hours appropriate for their offense, should be their penalty.


Once the new laws are instituted, they should be strictly enforced. Violators will especially stand out. You will always have those who will overlook and ignore the sales laws, much like how they sell Puerto Rican and other lottery tickets here. They should be fined heavily until there is no profit for them to operate in the territory.

The same laws that apply to the use of alcohol and other prescription **** for the driving of vehicles and the operation of heavy equipment, for the protection of the public, need strict enforcement. Business owners should reserve the right for a No Drug Use Policy in their operations.

pg. 8 My Reasoning

Tourists and visitors should respect the community. It must be made perfectly clear to them that public intoxication, disturbance of the peace, ****, vulgarity, or lewd behavior will not be tolerated. We welcome you to come and to enjoy yourself but you must respect our home.

Shuttle services should be provided for visitors to eliminate transportation needs from clubs, events and venues where marijuana is available.

If it can be proven that someone was under the influence at the time of an accident or during the commission of a crime of **** for an example, retribution should be a penalty condition and the serving of the maximum time for their offense.

Parents and Their Children

The 3 R's every child should be taught before going to school are: Respect, Responsibility and Retribution. By the time they graduate from high school they should be masters of these concepts.

First off, the Truancy Division of the Dept. of Education should be reinstated and the curfew laws should be strictly enforced. If a child is found intoxicated in school or in public, the authorities should not just assume that the parent has knowledge of the situation or is responsible, because children will leave home one way and change up once out of the sight of their parents. There should be an investigation, and if it is determined that the parent is guilty of negligence, than both the child and both their parents should have to perform community service for their offense. If it is habitual, then the whole family should receive counseling.

The money will be there for rehabilitation, counseling, prevention and enrichment programs from the new revenues generated from the sale of marijuana.

Political ****

I believe that after all of the pros and cons are presented to the community on a Referendum for the Decriminalization of Marijuana, and there is an explanation of how the efforts toward reforming the laws have been blocked by political economics and by lobbyist for the big pharmaceutical, tobacco and alcohol companies, those who chose to oppose the reform will feel a backlash from voters.

pg.9 My Reasoning

For one, there is a large number of voters who only because it is against the law that they have a problem with individuals possessing and using marijuana. Even if you to ask police officers, they will respond, it's the law. Next there are those families who have relatives and neighbors who have and are suffering because of the laws. There is a large community of Rastafarians who use marijuana religiously. Then there are others who have been and will be learning more about the medicinal health benefits, and finally there are the increased number of new registered voters, young and old, who will just come out to vote on this issue alone.

Once all of the information is open to discussion, I feel this is when the arguing begins. Have you ever tried to reason with a **** or someone intoxicated in religion?

It is time for a change!

With grave concern ...,

Ivan Butcher II
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