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Jamaica And The War On Cannabis.

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Jamaica: PUB LTE: End War On Weed


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URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v12/n343/a09.html

Newshawk: http://www.drugsense.org/donate.htm

Votes: 1

Pubdate: Mon, 09 Jul 2012

Source: Jamaica Gleaner, The (Jamaica)

Copyright: 2012 The Gleaner Company Limited

Contact: http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/feedback.html

Website: http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/

Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/493

Author: Neville Cooke







A few Fridays ago, the issue of the continued criminalisation of ganja usage was raised in the Senate.


According to Senator Tom Tavares-Finson, "On a weekly basis, ... approximately 300 young Jamaican males receive criminal records for minute quantities of ganja. It means that we are creating a pool of young persons who cannot be employed, who cannot join the military, who cannot join the police force and, indeed, cannot, in some instances, seek further education."


What is it about marijuana that makes a lot of politicians hallucinate? The faintest whiff of 'the weed of madness' ( according to US government propaganda ) causes them to see distorted images of things that aren't there and never were: justice, law and order, community protection, re-election. But most of them don't see the obvious.


The war on marijuana drugs was lost years ago, and pretending otherwise only makes the problem worse.


In Texas where I reside, 98 per cent of all marijuana arrests are for single possessions for an ounce or less - at a cost to the taxpayer of more than US$480 million a year. In America, the government spends more than US$8 billion trying to enforce the laws prohibiting the use and possession of marijuana. All they get for their money is a huge increase in organised crime, and endless string of drug-related murders, and the highest incarceration rate in the civilised world.


A few years back, a bill was written by several Texas House members which would have facilitated the use of medical marijuana. This bill never got out of committee, even though there is ample evidence that smoking pot eases pain and reduces nausea associated with cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and other illnesses.


Easily available


Making drugs illegal doesn't keep them out of the hands of children. Schoolchildren in the US can't buy hard liquor, but hard drugs are available as candy on the black market. Would legalisation increase drug use? Maybe.


But the use of tobacco, probably the most lethal drug today, has dramatically decreased because of intense anti-smoking campaigns. What is needed is a paradigm shift towards treatment and education.


Ending the war on marijuana drugs will take time, but politicians need to show some backbone. They should do what is best for Jamaica and ignore the fringe types who won't be happy until they're again allowed to burn witches.


It's time to take a new approach to fighting this war on drugs.






Austin, Texas, USA

MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom

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Ganja will remain illegal in Jamaica as long as the US Government tells Jamaica to keep it illegal. It is so culturally entrenched (and sensibly used there) that it will never go away.


There was a time in the '70's when Michael Manley, PM at the time, was pretty open about Jamaica exporting a great deal of cannabis to the US. He found it to be an acceptable way for his people to earn a living...

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