Weed: earn and inwardly regress
Early one Saturday morning the wife and I were lying in bed. The phone rang and she answered. A man said: “I just heard Richard is dead. Is he?” Whereupon she reached over, shook sundry parts of me and replied: “For all practical purposes you could say so. But he’s still breathing, so I would have to say no”.
What kind of answer is that? Since then I’ve been checking the obituaries and trying to walk through walls like duppies do. But I’m still not sure.
Today I delve a little deeper into marijuana. Letter writer and “weed” advocate, Richard Petko, a Canadian residing here, is telling us facts about Barbados I never knew. He claims “marijuana has been a part of the
Bajan and Caribbean social, cultural, religious, economic and medical fabric for 200 years”.
I grew up on a plantation, played in bands from the early 1960s with the roughest of the rough, spent four years at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad with rum-drinking and cigarette-smoking Caribbean colleagues. Never was there mention of anyone smoking marijuana, even among the Jamaicans. So which 200 years is he talking about?
Secondly, he says “the notion of reefer madness has been washed away”. It’s amazing how the medical fraternity which has to deal with marijuana-related problems and the cannabis fraternity talk in parallel streams, never answering each other.
Our Dr Robert Lucas, with impeccable scientific credentials, draws attention to two articles, including The Terrible Truth About Marijuana, based on a 20-year study showing the harm to unborn children. Even some who support legalisation admit that marijuana smoking reduces motivation and promotes laziness, just what we need.
There is a Richard Petko associated with a firm called “Global Pharmacy Canada”, about which there is much, mostly uncomplimentary, information online. If this was our letter writer, one might suspect a vested interest in marijuana legalisation. However, there may be other Richard Petkos, so let’s not judge lest we be judged.
Another worrying thought came from our Editor-in-chief’s Notebook. He is wondering if those who’ve been growing cannabis illegally on other people’s land and making handsome profits will be allowed to get into legal production. Hammie-la even seems to be proposing that they be given priority.
A strange world we’re in! Squat on land illegally, you could be given it. Grow weed illegally, get preference in producing. If buggery is legalised, maybe men who’ve been homosexualing will get income tax rebates. Clear message: crime does pay in Barbados!
Do these gentlemen realise the strict health requirements for producing a food or medicinal product in Barbados? In contrast to Jamaica weed imported in men’s bowels or women’s cavities?
Let’s get real about marijuana. First off, everyone suspects the “medical marijuana” aspect is only a prelude to full legalisation. It’s unbelievable that after Barbados’ remarkable success in curbing tobacco use, we should encourage smoking in any form.
Secondly, a blood alcohol level of
0.08 per cent or over is considered an offence if you are driving. This can be easily measured. As far as I know there are no similar guidelines or tests for driving while high on marijuana. Some say you shouldn’t drive for 12 hours after smoking.
Thirdly, the notion that the small growers now profiting will move into mainstream production is probably an unrealistic pipe dream. One big packaging agent has already had his facility approved on behalf of a Canadian hydroponic producer. Besides, legalise marijuana and the price and profits will fall dramatically. Fourthly, young people need telling that you can get as “high” as you like without recourse to drugs.
In Barbados we turn a blind eye to activities like prostitution, homosexuality and political corruption. And marijuana use in many cases. I suggest the police leave the users alone and let the small producers flourish as they now do. Otherwise we could see big business taking over.
Of course, we’re told the big plus for marijuana will be the mega-profits to growers and Government. Today’s globalised world cares nothing about families destroyed, workers exploited or losing their jobs to machines. The great god money is all that matters. That’s sad.