Headline: March 11.2008 – Spliff Society – Jamaica Considers Calls To Decriminalize Ganja- When you think of ganja, you think of Jamaica – famous for righteous reggae vibrations, beautiful beaches and mountainside groves of marijuana.
However, Cannabis (marijuana, ganja, pot) is still illegal in Jamaica, even as ganja consciousness pervades its’ culture and draws vacationers from around the world seeking serenity at laid-back ganja-friendly resorts.
In 2003, a government appointed “Ganja Commission” recommended decriminalization (small fines for users; jail for dealers), but the prospect of losing its’”anti-drug certification” from the United States and resulting economic sanctions caused the government to continue the prohibition. This year, with the Jamaican Labour Party in power and the island’s court’s clogged with marijuana-related cases, there is a real possibility of reform.
As ganja use has been so prevalent in Jamaican culture, it has been a subject of study by researchers seeking to understand Cannabis use in real-world situations. One very interesting example comes from Dr. Melanie Dreher (now Dean of the Rush University College of Nursing in Chicago), who spent years of observing the dynamics of Jamaican women, motherhood, cultural taboos against cocaine and cultural support of Cannabis. Indeed, the “Roots Daughters”, respected pillars of Jamaican family and community, are brewers of ”Ganja Tea”, beneficial both physically and spiritually.
In this video, Professor Dreher, RN, PhD, at 2004 Cannabis Therapeutics Conference, hosted by Patients Out of Time, details her observations on Jamaican women and families, including the use of Cannabis in assisting the cessation of crack cocaine use, by lessening withdrawal symptoms and boosting the spirit.Cannabis -Risk of Dependence, with Melanie Dreher, RN, PhD, FAAN
The findings of Professor Dreher mirror scientific studies now supporting anecdotal evidence that Cannabis can be an aid on the perilous path out of “hard drug” addictions. One example is a study on heroin withdrawal in England.
At the same Cannabis Therapeutics Conference, Ethan Russo, MD, outlines governmental studies into Cannabis use, including two books written about ganja use in Jamaica, commissioned by the Shaffer Commission in 1972. The Jamaican studies also mention the “Roots Daughters” and debunks the “anti-motivational syndrome” myth associated with Cannabis use. (Cannabis became established in the Caribbean because the sugar plantation owners knew their fieldhands could work harder and longer in the fierce Jamaican sun, mainly due to the vascular dilation action of Cannabis – bringing the blood vessels closer to the skin (reason for red eyes) for cooling and rushing oxygen-rich blood to the muscles.)Marijuana Use Studies – A History, with Ethan Russo, MD
Beginning with the India Hemp Drugs Commission in 1893, Dr. Russo reports that every study came to basically the same conclusion -
Society has no cause for concern regarding the effects of Cannabis use on health or crime, and in fact, it has many positives – like medicinal value, spiritual traditions and productivity.
If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.