Thursday, July 18, 2024
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Must we always follow what’s trending internationally?

In following the discussions on the decriminalisation of cannabis, this question comes to mind since the three main reasons given at different times, are –it’s trending internationally; it can make money and there are other mind altering substances such as cigarettes and alcohol that people do not complain about. While these make good arguments, unfortunately the voices of those who are for are louder than those who are against in the whole argument on the issue. This is a bit strange since this newspaper is picking up opinions from quite a few people who are against, but would like to remain anonymous.

Speaking on the dynamics of how law enforcement operates, a senior police officer thinks that it’s okay for Grenada to follow the trend, which is international and he is happy to see that the discussion has come home on ways to mitigate against young people being incarcerated. He is also happy that the committee is working to determine the quantity that is allowed for personal use that will not be criminalized, which will change the dynamics of how law enforcement operates. As a policer officer, he would most likely remember the sad incident that led to the death of a father and a son over one spliff, and the close call of two police officers in connection to that same incident. Maybe this and other cannabis incidents have moved him to say that the time has come to revisit the issue. The officer is most qualified to speak, but shouldn’t we be wary in copying foreign trends which do not always fit into our system?

Quite a lot is being said about our so called “poor health system” so shouldn’t some attention be placed on the health effects of Cannabis? There may be the benefit of making money which seems to be a major focus for the committee; but, so far why haven’t many medical professionals chimed in on the discussion? This week the Chief Medical Officer Dr Sean Charles, pitched in on some technical terms which we all know are of little interest to the people who would like to smoke cannabis. He explained that the risks and adverse effects of cannabis are largely due to its THC component (whatever that may be). However, he explained that the THC component causes euphoria, altered perception, causes the senses to be modified and can cause abnormal behaviour. He also expressed the concern that this component makes cannabis addictive. At this juncture, shouldn’t level headed Grenadians stop and think hard about the road we are about to embark on?

Wasn’t the medical doctor clear enough when he said smoking is considered one of the worst ways to use Cannabis for its useful properties, especially if we are considering cannabis for its medicinal properties?  He also stated that with smoking, there is no way to predict the dosage of the product and when someone combusts a leaf that has hundreds or thousands of compounds, some of the by-products may be harmful in themselves. Yet, truth be told, smoking is the most popular way people use Cannabis in Grenada.

Despite the doctor’s subtle warnings, there are lay-people who believe strongly that people should open their minds to new trends instead of ‘holding on to the old ways of doing things’. It is their belief that the world has changed to accept a lot of things that were deemed incorrect in the past. Well, maybe there is some sense in that, but the comparison of accepting a mind and behaviour altering substance in our world of troubled youths who are already surprising the nation with some strange crimes, does not seem to be a fair point. Where are the voices of young people?  A foreign official in the discussion added another scientific point that some of the conditions such as appetite stimulation, sleep disorders, and certain other things, require more of a THC strong component. Whereas, anxiety disorders and some of the neuro problems, require more of the CBD dominant type products and people should be trained in how to properly use the cannabis. We await the outcome of that training.

The average person does not seem to even know the difference in decriminalizing Cannabis as opposed to legalising it at this time. A young lady told this newspaper “legalizing it is good, but you have an effect …some people will go crazy and want to grow their own thing and sell it; so that would be a little problem. But anyway marijuana good for a lot of things and a lot of health factors; the most important thing is not to abuse cannabis. You use a certain amount when you need it; so it’s a lot of things we need to know.” 

The youth added that whoever wants to legalize it, must make sure that it is only sold at pharmacies or “a specific person selling it for medical purposes”. In a similar manner that a jury pool is selected, we are hoping that one day a group of young people from different walks of life, will get the chance to officially chime in on the Cannabis issue. Is it fair to the nation to always hear from people who have already made their minds up that decriminalizing Cannabis is a good thing for Grenada. Let’s try to find the woman who called in on GBN’s To The Point to say that this will only benefit the people with “a lot of lands to plant the weed.”

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