Letters to the Editor

Ganja has great medicinal values, but it’s not good for children

Friday, April 21, 2017    

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Dear Editor,

The five of us, retired professionals, over the age of 80 (sorry, Verla, you have to wait) decided to talk about how ganja has affected our own families. We deal with our big families and point fingers only at ourselves.

We found out, without scientific analyses, that our under-the-age-of-16 children who ate ganja, chewed ganja, drank ganja, smoked ganja, did not do well in school or later in life. As adults, they were not able to stand on their own two feet. Please don’t attack us; our situation may be entirely genetic, but members of our family are here as Exhibit A and we have nothing to boast about.

A single-mother granddaughter sent her two sons, seven and four years, to spend holidays in the country with their uncle because she had to work. She visited on weekends and was impressed that the children knew the names of every plant.

“Banana, apple, mango, tea, yam, breadfruit,” the four-year-old called out as she walked with him outside. The children’s uncle made them call the ganja plant “tea”, sent them to pick leaves which were used for tea at breakfast, and he boasted how he had enabled the boys to be so bright in school. And they were.

They were in the top five during their high school journey, smoked ganja, took no part in sports, gained entry to, and later dropped out of, university. They attacked each other and furniture in the house with ice-picks, knives and machetes. Both in their 20s, they are now mentally unstable and socially unsettled; mother spending thousands of dollars on psychiatric care and bi-polar injections. They continue to wound each other, the police have been called, relatives help to keep them apart, and they promise, time and again, to stop smoking ganja.

Another uncle gave one of our grandsons ganja to smoke as brain food the night before his CXC history exam. The 15-year-old sat in the exam room and, disoriented, he drew pictures of insects and birds for the two hours. The supervisor summoned the principal. He is ‘out there’, on and off the streets, and that relative, with little to offer, still influences him negatively.

Two sons and a daughter, who bought ganja at the fence of their schools during the late 70s when they were young teens, are living on their parents’ pension, unemployable, at home. One of them sits at the table and eats his entire Sunday dinner of rice and peas, chicken, fried plantain, yam and trimmings, with a teaspoon.

We can point to homeless relatives who were disobedient, ‘own way’, ganja smokers whose parents have left the island and them. Of course, we blame ourselves for not paying more attention to our young smokers, but the majority of the island’s children have been warned, have followed rules and have matured into adults who contribute to the society.

Ganja has great medicinal values, especially the tea for asthma. It makes fine fabric but it is not good for children and we can prove this from the damage done to young members of our family.

Veronica Blake Carnegie

veronica_carnegie cwjamaica.com





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