Your browser (Internet Explorer 7 or lower) is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how to update your browser.

X

Don’t rush ganja-smoking freedom

I could entertain the decriminalisation of ganja, though I support no form of smoking. This week marks 30 years since the death of my dearly beloved and deeply missed mother, one of the multiple millions of lives claimed by the tobacco industry. If cigarettes can be legal, why should it be criminalised?

I celebrate the fact that through legislative action, thousands of youth whose present opportunities and future prospects were darkened because of a criminal conviction can now have that record expunged. The bill recently tabled in Parliament still has ganja as an offence, though one that would be ticketable, like traffic violations. So even with decriminalisation, it would still not be on par with cigarette smoking. Only Rastafarians who use ‘herb’ as part of their religious sacrament would be exempted.

The Medical Association of Jamaica and the National Council on Drug Abuse have come out against decriminalisation and have raised the issue of the dangers of ganja smoking, while supporting the expungement of criminal records and using ganja for medicinal and religious purposes. Read more