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Decriminalisation of ganja could cause more health problems, MAJ warns

Published:Saturday | June 14, 2014 | 8:45 AM

The Medical Association of Jamaica (MAJ) says the decriminalisation of ganja for personal use will cause more mental and physical health problems for Jamaicans, especially the youth.

It says it hopes that Cabinet will reconsider its position in line with health practice and science.

The MAJ says while Jamaica could benefit from the potential profits to be earned from a well conceived and efficient industry, additional investment in medical research is necessary.

It says as physicians, members of the MAJ are confronted first hand with the devastating effects of the misuse of Ganja, including addiction, psychiatric disorders, and disruption of neurological development.

In addition, it notes that cannabis withdrawal symptoms can also result in violence which would be even more worrying as Jamaica already suffers from a high violent crime rate.

The MAJ says the medical evidence against the recreational use of ganja is well established and vulnerable groups like teenagers are the most likely to pay with their health for the changes that are being proposed.

The association says the popularity of decisions made in other jurisdictions on this topic must be carefully studied but not necessarily followed.

It says the country’s public health sector is already overburdened and underfunded and prevention of a public health problem should be the clear focus of the Government.

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