THE EDITOR, Sir:
It is illegal to trade, store and consume marijuana in public, as Jamaica has found it to be harmful to the health and welfare of persons. In the United States (US), especially California and Colorado, it is grown just as easily, but in their situation, there is some doubt as to its damaging effect on users. Medical marijuana is said to be a refined version of the original.
We have been told that derivative medicinal drugs have shown results in efficacy in application, such as Canasol for the treatment of glaucoma, and Asmasol for asthma. There are other beneficial effects: relaxation, anti-anxiety, and anti-nausea, among others, in general as useful.
But can this position be unequivocal? We have been given numerous warnings about the deleterious effects of cannabis over the years. We have been told that the active ingredients in cannabis, THC, and cannabinoids have been shown to be harmful to the user, causing addiction.
The US federal government has still not removed the stigma of illegality from this addictive drug, and has not approved the transportation and sales of this item across the country.
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.
Yet another study (February 2012) identifies the harmful effects of marijuana, and points out why contradictory results may be obtained from other reports. New research shows adolescence is crucial to brain development and marijuana can permanently damage the teenage brain.
"It is ironic that at this time marijuana's use is increasing, that science finds extensive brain toxicity in early youth," says Dr Chris Thurstone, who runs the substance-abuse programme at Denver Health. "There is no debate in the scientific community; it is physically and mentally addictive."
Jamaica has to consider whether it can control distribution of medicinal ganja. Marijuana is one drug being frequently abused by teens who are dropping out of life. They leave their family, their friends and their sports to smoke ganja all day. This addiction needs to be resolved before any new by-products are made available to the public. As parents, we must take the initiative, and stop this distressing trend.