Mon | Dec 5, 2016

Don't be penny-wise and pound-foolish on ganja

Published:Monday | February 9, 2015 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Where are the Jamaicans who have a different story to tell about the legalisation of ganja? Where are the mothers whose children amounted to nothing because their children started to use the drug at an early age, became dependent on it or graduated to more potent drugs later in life?

Where are the people who live in fear of members of our communities when the smokers had too much to smoke on a particular day?

Have we all become silent because we are awaiting the profits that will accrue from the ganja trade?

I lived in Brooklyn, New York for several years and watched in despair as many promising young men dropped out of school or became residents of the psychiatric ward of Kings County Hospital. It took several years for those young men to regain some measure of normality, and even then, they continued to function on the margins of society.

Today, I see young men on their way to high school, lighting up their spliffs and then proceeding to classes, ready to frustrate their teachers and disrupt the learning process of the more conscientious students.

The question, therefore, that I ask of the people in authority is this: If in an environment where ganja has not yet been legalised, it has wreaked so much havoc, what will happen when there are no restrictions? How will we cope? How will we protect the vulnerable from rubbing out their palms early in life?

A young man told me the sad tale of his journey down the road to drug abuse. He was introduced at an early age by a group of men to a chillum pipe in a Kingston ghetto. The end result of this first experience is that he now languishes in a prison for assaulting and relieving a police officer of his weapon!

Ganja and other mood-enhancing drugs have become part of the lifestyle of some of the elite members of our society. When those persons are in need of medical care, they have the means of getting it, but where does a working-class parent go at the first sign of mental disturbance in his/her child?

Let us not be penny-wise and pound-foolish!

LEONIE ROBERTS