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Ganja and me

Harry Russell

Ganja and me

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The raging debate about the use of marijuana has been occupying the newspapers for quite a while. Many people are coming out of the woodworks stating that they have been taking the stuff for medicinal purposes, mainly for seeing things more clearly.
Perhaps our attorney general wants to see things more clearly too as he declares that the issue must be studied carefully. Those who are processed in the dock before Your Honour publicly aver that they use it for religious purposes or that it soothes the brain.
The debate as to whether or not it addles the brain is not really conclusive. One does not know if in considering addling of the brain, if it does occur, it has a temporary effect or a permanent deleterious one in each individual. We know that if you were to drink too much alcohol, it traumatises the brain temporarily and makes you do foolish things. More so, if consumed in large quantities too often, you would live in a state of perpetual fogginess and stupor. But drinking alcohol would not be illegal per se in either case.
Some people develop a state of bliss that makes them unaware of the environment; they chant and sing – just like people get in the power and writhe on the floor, but these are not illegal acts. The use of marijuana helps some people forget their financial and political worries, a state that beckons to most of us at this stage as the uncertainty of the future ghosts its presence before us.
I need to disagree with that goodly gentle man Lowdown, as he seems to be against the legalising of the use of the herb. But God gave us the herb just as He gave us the sugar cane that was brought to Barbados by the Dutch for use as fuel and rum, later sugar. Since its introduction, at one time rum from the sugar cane had the same adverse social and legal taboo as marijuana has. It was the cause of many illegal activities. I envisage that the world would gradually get to see that marijuana is no more dangerous to our society than the sugar cane from which comes rum.
Being an athlete in my younger days, I eschewed both rum and cigarettes and never developed the habit for either. Actually I only had one bad habit that I have always maintained is not a sin. However, in Jamaica where I lived for nearly 20 years, I never maligned the ganja plant. It was all around me, and its distinctive aroma proclaimed its proximity. I always had a small supply, compliments of my rugby friends in the army who purloined it from confiscated seizures. A bottle of Jamaica Appleton white decorated a corner of the cupboard, filled with leaves of the green plant. We used the concoction, children and all, for influenza and bad colds. Surprisingly in two twos the malady disappeared. It was like magic and it left no bad habit.
Naturally I would not try that in Barbados, as the mere knowledge of such a habit would incur the delight of the powers that be, especially the constabulary force, in seeing the Wild Coot handcuffed and on the front page of the papers heading for Dodds for six months’ incarceration. He would have to battle with whatever culinary facilities the $700 million place conjures up.
Are we looking at what is happening in Argentina? Having declared bankruptcy over a decade ago, most of its debt now is internal like Barbados. It too has pursued populist policies that have eventually led to a reduction in currency value. Politicians there too will go down fighting with the ship, even if they wreck it. Just like in Barbados.
 Harry Russell is a banker. Email [email protected]