High-level probe into weed-laced candies
Investigators from the Police Narcotics Division are struggling to find out the source of the ganja-laced candies which were being sold in at least one school in the Corporate Area.
Following a Sunday Gleaner exposÈ last week that the weed-laced candies had been sold to some students at Hillel Academy, senior members of the police force said this was news to them.
"This is the first time that we have heard this information, and it is something that we are looking into, certainly since the publication," Senior Superintendent Carlton Small, head of the Police Narcotics Division, told The Sunday Gleaner.
At the same time, Michael Tucker, executive director of the National Council on Drug Abuse, who was also just learning of the method of introducing children to ganja, questioned the motives of those selling the candies.
"Is it that you have a wicked set of people out there who targeting children or do they really feel they have the right to market these things because now ganja free up?" said Tucker, as he pointed to provisions made under the recently amended Dangerous Drugs Act.
Tucker emphasised the debilitating effects of marijuana usage on teenagers who along with pregnant women and the disabled represent the three groups most vulnerable to marijuana abuse in Jamaica.
CONCEPT NOT NEW
While he noted that the concept of 'weed edibles' is not new, Tucker said it was the first time he has heard of the weed candies being used in Jamaica.
"There has always been things presented which are laced with ganja. We have heard of ganja cookies, ganja cakes, and other various things that have also been presented," said Tucker.
"We just heard about it (weed candies) here recently, but we know that in environments overseas, where ganja has been decriminalised for quite a while, almost anything that you can conceive that ganja can be put into, whether edible or not, it is there," added Tucker.
Last week, Education Minister Ronald Thwaites; president of the Jamaica Teachers' Association Doran Dixon; and representatives of the Safe Schools Programme all reported that prior to the incident at Hillel they had no reports of the marijuana-laced sweets.
"You have some people for whom selling something and advancing consumerism is all that matters. What they are doing is wrecking young people's lives and that's a criminal offence," said Thwaites.
Dixon added: "Parents need to tell their children to be careful, and if the sweets are really found to be tainted, those persons responsible for providing it to the children must face whatever the law prescribes."
Efforts to confirm reports if the weed-laced candies are being sold in other schools have so far been unsuccessful.