THE MARIJUANA DECISION: HESITATION

THE MARIJUANA DECISION

There is now a visible hiatus with Marijuana. Legislation is being delayed without an apparent reason; but this is not only in Jamaica, it extends into many US states, eighteen at the last count.

We should be concerned with this delay in terms of possible income being lost. Yet there is no surprise; almost all of our medical and psychological experts seem reluctant to make a positive commitment on its safety, especially its long term effects. There is also indecision on the part of our law enforcers; users and purveyors of marijuana are all arrested as before, in response to law (set by previous policies. )

Yet there are persons willing to invest and to distribute our marijuana, and this factor is worrisome. Depriving someone of their investment is not a course of action to be supported. So what is to be done, to reconcile the differences; indeed, if that is our decision?

In the past week, law enforcement in Denver, Colorado, made major moves against drug trafficking, involving illegal drug activity including marijuana. Cash and marijuana plants were seized at six locations in Denver. Calls made to DEA and the Attorney General’s office elicited no response.

What is being prevented?: The distribution of marijuana to minors; preventing the sales and profits of marijuana to criminal enterprises, which now conflicts with the law on prevention of terrorist enterprises. Then there is the sale and growth in non-authorised towns and cities, and its conjunction with firearm sales, indicating criminal activity.

The fact is, there is not much being said in respect of legitimization of marijuana; the point being that very little comment is being made on the marijuana legislation at a time when there should be active news. The Congressman from Rhode Island, Patrick J Kennedy, has made some interesting observations:

“While it is appreciated that accused persons may be removed from incarceration when the penalties are lifted, among other benefits, we have yet to see what a major marketing thrust will produce; and will it have a unfavourable image with our children. In 1999 when tobacco was heavily fined for misleading advertising, it was still able to further publicise its success in advertising by phenomenal growth in cigarette sales, spending billions of dollars. What will happen when they put this kind of money behind marijuana and its products?”

Approximately a week ago one of our economists predicted an economic boom, should the legislation proceed to fulfilment. Yet the question remains: Is there going to be damage to human wellbeing should it be allowed to proliferate? Once legislation is approved the matter may not be able to recall; and the only way we can continue in this path, is to be assured by our scientific community that there will be no permanent damage to our adolescents. I would think that we should not move until adequate safety parameters are in place for those most vulnerable.

It also now appears that the Big Tobacco Companies are getting into the fray. They have registered domain names, which place them on the internet with marijuana and cannabis. This is a Tobacco strategy to get to the children; we cannot ignore this new approach to promoting products that are injurious to our children’s health.

Catch them when they are young, then you have a customer for life. This is a Big Tobacco strategy that they have successively used for years. Addiction is big business, and now with legal marijuana it is going to get bigger.

Marijuana is not harmless. Its use is linked to mental illnesses, which affect parts of the brain responsible for memory, learning, attention and reaction time. It is identified as a drug with addictive properties.

Already some US states are reporting an increase in the number of cases of marijuana poisoning.

(633 words)

©Ramesh Sujanani

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