Weed: earn and in­wardly regress

UK Barbados Nation - - NEWS -

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.

Grow­ing cannabis

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.

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