Pubdate: Sat, 07 Mar 2015
Source: Jamaica Gleaner, The (Jamaica)
Copyright: 2015 The Gleaner Company Limited
Author: Clayton Hall



I don't want to be singled out as the naysayer in this euphoria that 
is surrounding the decriminalisation of marijuana. It would, however, 
be remiss of me if I did not sound caution and indicate that the very 
same ingredients that make it positively potent will be progressively 
problematic if abused.

This is not a view that the plant should not be used and researched 
and made to benefit Jamaica and Jamaicans; it is a call for care and 
public education in the use and abuse of this product.

This drug is highly addictive. It creates an inordinate desire for 
the drug on the user. This has health problems, as the most common 
method of use is smoking. Smoking causes respiratory problems, 
especially if commenced at a young age.

The sale tactic being used for the push is to say it's a miracle 
drug. It may well be, but even those have negative side effects. I 
have seen in my professional practice 'A' students who become 
high-school dropouts because of the effect of

marijuana on cognitive and social development.

I am not asking for a change in the decriminalisation drive. I am 
making a plea for caution and consideration to be introduced to the 
mix in copious doses.

The benefits of the plant must be explored. In fact, it would be 
ludicrous not to exploit the benefits to be derived from this 
product. Similarly, it would be foolhardy to bury our heads in the 
sand of marijuana madness and pretend that there are no negative 
effects that accompany this move.

With rights come responsibility. I am asking that Parliament, which 
decided to decriminalise the product, be commended and that we also 
have the opportunity to praise them in the future for ensuring that, 
as part of the licensing protocol, a significant sum of the fees 
collected from producers be used to ensure public education, 
especially targeted at young males who are most likely to be the 
abusing cohort.

I sincerely wish that I will be able to give a 'high grade' to this 
process and the persons involved when the benefits are compared to 
the fallout. Be warned.


Old Harbour, St Catherine
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