In the continuing series The 7 wonders of Jamaica here is Wonder # 2- Cannabis.
Cannabis. Everybody just pause for a minute. Let’s just stop and take a deep breath.
Growing up I remembered clearly being taught that this plant was a ‘bad’ plant ; that you can get thrown in jail so don’t smoke it, don’t be seen with it and if your friends have it leave them by. My Mom told me this. I was also told it would ‘turn you mad’, Jamaican patois meaning that the plant had side effects that would diagnose you as insane by the authorities. Some of the people I knew seemed to verify that as through their constant smoking their eyes would change color, they no longer looked ‘groomed’ and they were in a state of mental euphoria. I remember seeing every day on TV the arrest made by the authorities and it reinforced what my Mom told me. And so I believed and I conformed. Never smoked it, always hating those that had it. But time has a way of teaching you things in life that you take for granted. I kept asking myself ‘why is this plant illegal?”. Everyone I asked did not give me a definitive answer? So I decided to do my research and this is what I found.
1. WHAT’S IN A NAME: This plant has more names than any other plant I know – Cannabis, pot, marijuana, weed, herb, bush, sinsemilla , cali weed, mary jane, hemp, grass, ganja, skunk (because it can smell like skunk spray), hashish and many more. Not to mention that each “strain” of cannabis is given its own name, some of which are quite interesting.There are hundreds of other names for the plant and its derivatives. So with so many names in so many countries meaning so many things to so many people why is it so bad ?
2. IT PRODUCES HEMP: Cannabis – the scientific name has long been used for fibre (hemp), for seed and seed oils, for Industrial hemp products are made from Cannabis plants . Various extracts including hashish and hash oil are also produced from the plant. So if this plant has so many derivatives including hemp, a known product of immense use, why is this plant illegal?
3. MEDICINAL USE: Cannabis has tested and proven medicinal values that ails a lot of the diseases that we are fighting now from glaucoma to cancer. Just recently Dr. Sanja Gupta , a chief medical correspondent for CNN reversed his opinion on Cannabis – Hmmm. Ok so if this plant has medicinal purposes, tested or otherwise, then why is it bad, why is it illegal?
4. NO GROUNDS FOR ILLEGALITY: When you look at the historical timeline you will see that it was during the turbulent years of “Prohibition” , in the 1930’s that Cannabis was outlawed. The legislations passed were all cock-eyed to please the various interest groups to make sure that their pockets were well-greased. Legislation was passed without he knowledge of the people at the time and what was fed to them they believed. Remember the old adage feed them what you want them to believe, and they will believe. Cannabis was declared a ‘drug’ and a narcotic that only the lowest of the lowest , the Mexicans and Indians at the time, used. It was said it gave these people the false pretense that they were ‘equal’ to the dominant class at the time. The drug also caused them to rape white women. It must be banned. In modern society the arguments presented in the 1930’s about Cannabis would be seen as racist, dumbfounded, has no legal or factual basis and full of self-interest and nepotism all grounds for an over turn.
5. IT IS NOT A DRUG: The anti-narcotics law written to regulate narcotics–opium and its derivatives, such as heroin, cocaine and morphine had nothing to do with Cannabis. Cannabis has not been proven to date that the side effects are devastating to an individual any more so alcohol , tobacco and all the other designer prescribed drugs that are legal. If Cannabis makes you crazy, high and delusional then so too does alcohol, aspirin, Benadryl, coffee, and the list goes on and you can easily get these over the counter. Tobacco, the great hope to millions, causes more deaths per year and it is fashionable to say the least. The contradictions don’t add up. Why aren’t these drugs illegal ?
...”Jamaica has signed three international treaties that make possession of marijuana a criminal offense, including the 1988 U.N. Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. Hylton the DPP of Jamaica, did not outline possible penalties for violating the treaties but said decriminalizing marijuana could put Jamaica at risk of losing its annual antidrug certification from the United States. Countries that lose U.S. certification can face economic sanctions. The U.S. government, which gives Jamaica up to $2 million in annual aid, has consistently opposed the island’s efforts to loosen its drug laws…” (From cannabisnews.com)