THE EDITOR, Sir:
While ganja possession is illegal in Jamaica, use of the drug has been decriminalised in some sections of the United States.
We have been given numerous warnings about the deleterious effects of cannabis, although other research in Colorado claims it is not as detrimental as before. The states of Colorado, California and Washington have decided to press ahead with the decriminalisation of ganja, and the distribution of medical marijuana, in small amounts, from authorised dispensaries. But the federal government has still not removed the stigma of illegality from this addictive drug.
The California Police Chiefs Association says: "Legal proponents have to confirm how society will be enhanced, and how the social problems of our country will be improved by legalising another product that compromises people's five senses." Addiction specialists say where marijuana is legalised, teenagers will believe the drug is harmless and use it more often.
New research shows that adolescence is crucial to 'brain development' and marijuana can permanently damage the teenage brain. Using marijuana at age 16 may result in psychosis by 19.
In Jamaica, ganja use is supplied from the street, which is cause for concern. Decriminalisation advocates must consider whether Jamaica can regulate the distribution of ganja, whether for medicinal or recreational use.
Ganja is being frequently abused by teen dropouts. They leave their families, their friends, their sports to smoke ganja all day and all night. As parents, we must take the initiative to stop this distressing trend.