NCDA, MAJ Supports Ganja Decriminalisation

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by Superjoint, Aug 19, 2001.

  1. Lead Story
    Source: Jamaica Gleaner

    The National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA) and the Medical Association of Jamaica (MAJ) have both come out in support of the recommendation of the National Commission on Ganja to decriminalise the substance for private, personal use.
    "The Council is going along with the general feeling throughout the world that you should not be deemed a criminal for smoking a spliff," said Dr. Charles Thesiger, NCDA chairman and senior lecturer in Community Health and Psychiatry at the University of the West Indies (UWI).

    "The dilemma now is for the law-makers to decide how to draft a law which can balance decriminalising ganja use with other aspects of the laws about ganja."

    He said the Council is of the view that decriminalisation is not likely to cause an increase in abuse of the substance, nor will it act as a first step towards full-fledged legalisation.

    "I don't think it will ever be legalised here," Dr. Thesiger added.

    The NCDA, whose representative Dr. Eileen Goldson was deputy chairperson of the Commission, made a number of submissions during its hearings.

    MAJ president, Dr. Winston Dawes, said his association also supports decriminalisation, despite the harmful medical effects of ganja smoking, because it believes private, personal use should not be a criminal offence.

    "We will, however, continue to educate people about the harmful effects of smoking in general, and if they want to go ahead and use the 'poison' then that is up to them," he told The Gleaner.

    The MAJ's position came out of its symposium on ganja held last year, he said.

    Dr. Dawes stressed, however, that the MAJ has steered clear of the recommendation relating to ganja use for religious purposes.

    "We decided not to comment on the religious use because by bringing in the religious sacrament thing you are opening up the potential for abuse. Anybody can say they are forming a church based on ganja smoking."

    Source: Jamaica Gleaner, The (Jamaica)
    Published: August 18, 2001
    Copyright: 2001 The Gleaner Company Limited

    Related Articles & Web Site:

    Medical Association of Jamaica

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