Pubdate: Tue, 29 Nov 2005
Source: Jamaica Gleaner, The (Jamaica)
Copyright: 2005 The Gleaner Company Limited
Author: Barry Chevannes
Referenced: and


The Editor, Sir

I TOO did read the coverage you gave to Dr De La Haye's assertions
about a link between ganja and violence, but, unlike you, did not
think it worthy of a response - at least not what he was reported as

Your editorial on Sunday has elevated it to a status that it does not

Baseless Rumour

May I remind you that the very reason why ganja was listed as a
prohibited substance for the first time in 1912 was a baseless rumour
that it was the cause of male East Indians murdering their wives.

This, despite the Indian Commission Hemp Report of 1894. Subsequent
measures criminalising the use and possession of ganja have followed
the same pattern, ignoring such studies as the La Guardia Report in
New York and the Rubin and Comitas research in Jamaica, not to mention
a plethora of others across the world. If ganja "exacerbates
aggressive behaviour", one could argue that a good meal, by increasing
energy levels does the same.


In the absence of the full statement of Dr. De La Haye, I prefer to
believe that he must have qualified the link he is alleged to have
made by limiting it to some psychosis-prone personalities. If, indeed,
he did, then his suggestion would not, as you suggest, run counter to
the Report of the National Commission on Ganja, which proferred
evidence that such reactions were possible.

If, however, he did not, and instead intended his statement to apply
generally to the entire population of users, then what your editorial
should be calling for is not a "renewed debate", but research-based
scientific evidence that the murderous rage consuming a significant
portion of Jamaica's youth population is linked to ganja. Of course,
such research would have to rule out Kentucky Fried chicken, water,
Bigga, callaloo, ackee and salt fish, Guinness, crack-cocaine and all
the other substances that they ingest as daily fare.

I am, etc.,

Barry Chevannes
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