Pubdate: Sun, 15 Jun 2014
Source: Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
Copyright: 2014 The Jamaica Observer Ltd,
Author: Mark Wignall


'BULL Chicken' is 61 years old, does any and all kinds of menial, 
tough, labour intensive jobs and is quite proud that "Mi neva si di 
inside a prison or jail yet."

Like his best friend Georgie, both were barely educated and cannot 
read. Both began smoking ganja in either their adolescent or early 
teen years. "Mi did have a uncle who was a bad man," said Georgie.

"When my father dig off and left wi, is mi uncle and mi granny raise 
mi. Mi uncle always a smoke weed and when mi bout 12 him used to gi 
mi him spliff and tell mi sey it will cool down mi brains."

Georgie is a gentle soul, but his reasoning abilities on many matters 
make it appear that the ganja did more than 'cool down' his brains. 
It seemed that it locked off a part of his brainpower.

Bull Chicken is the more aggressive one and he tends to go off on 
minor, insignificant details when discussing a particular matter.

I am always telling him when he decides to tell me a story about a 
specific part of his childhood to "get to the point" and stop 
straying. In those moments, he would screw up his face and say, "Is 
alright, mi nuh haffi tell yu."

With a Bill recently approved to allow for the decriminalisation of 
small amounts of ganja for personal use, it has occurred to me that 
one of the common threads among many of the older men who I speak 
with daily and who demonstrate a certain 'reasoning deficit', is that 
they tell me, when I ask the question, that they began smoking weed 
at too early an age.

Something tells me from my informal study that too early use of the 
herb stunts the brainpower or, to put it another way, it doesn't make 
learning all that attractive. Now, I do not believe that freeing up 
the weed will suddenly result in truckloads of children rushing out 
to smoke ganja.

The reality is, although the Dangerous Drugs law which criminalised 
the possession and smoking of ganja was always in effect, people had 
been thumbing their noses at it for years.

All one had to do was go into any bar, corner shop or gathering in 
any lane or rural hill setting and there were young men, older men 
and even boys openly smoking weed.

So I do not expect to see any great social change in the smoking 
habit. One man sporting locks and whose ability to 'reason' is 
similarly defective is always seen either rolling up a spliff or 
smoking one. I do not know his name, but all call him 'Bun Fire'.

When I asked him about how many spliffs he smoked per day he said, 
"Bout 10 or could be 12."

I am not making reference to small cigarette-sized ones as used by 
the Americans but 'Big head' spliffs. "You don't think that is too 
much?" I suggested. "Yes, mi tink so," he said.

"Is long time now mi fi cut down." Bun Fire still chainsmokes and 
once he is in an argument he is either talking in disconnected bits 
and pieces or he is on the verge of exploding into a shouting match.

I must admit, however, that the majority of the young men who smoke 
the weed are quite peaceful and are just content to relax in the 
'vibes', whatever those vibes are.

Teeth will have to be placed in amendments to the Act to penalise 
parents who allow their children to smoke weed. To me, the early 
smoking of the stuff 'softens' the brain and worse, it appears that 
the early 'softening' is irreversible.
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