Pubdate: Tue, 24 May 2005
Source: Jamaica Gleaner, The (Jamaica)
Copyright: 2005 The Gleaner Company Limited
Author: Paul Armentano
Referenced: series



KUDOS TO The Gleaner for its series on the debate about ganja. It
reported on the rational examination by the National Commission on
Ganja of the risks associated with the moderate use of ganja and the
commission's support for decriminalising its use by adults ('Ganja is
not entirely safe', on May 18).

As noted by the National Commission on Ganja and others, cannabis'
relative risks to the user, most of which may be mitigated by
consuming it in ways other than smoking, do not support the practice
of criminalising those adults who possess and use ganja in small
quantities. In addition, the consequences of a criminal conviction for
the simple possession of a minor amount of cannabis for personal use
are disproportionate to any potential harms associated with the behaviour.

Despite criminally prohibiting the use of ganja in 1941, tens of
thousands of Jamaicans self-identify as having used cannabis at some
point in their lives, and relatively few acknowledge having suffered
deleterious health effects due to their use. It's high time Parliament
moves forward to enact the National Commission on Ganja's
recommendations, so that Jamaica's public policies on ganja reflect
this reality, not deny it.

I am, etc.,


Senior policy analyst

NORML Foundation

Washington, D.C. 
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