Free Up the Herb for Medicinal Purposes and Industry - WHEATLEY

Release Date: 
Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - 16:15

Opposition Spokesman on Science and the Environment Dr. Andrew Wheatley has called on the government to move quickly to legalise marijuana for medicinal uses.

During his sectoral presentation, Dr. Wheatley noted that: "The Opposition believes that a referendum is the best way to decide whether to legalize ganja or not. But the Government can act NOW. While one cannot be certain as to which way the electorate would go in a referendum, what we are certain of is that now is the time for Ganja Reform!”

“First of all, we need to move forthwith as a country in decriminalizing the possession of small quantities of ganja" Dr Wheatley insisted. He maintained that: "It is madness for us to be destroying the future of so many of our people, poor Jamaican youths in particular, by giving them a criminal record for just a “one spliff”.

We are urging Resident Magistrates to exercise greater discretion in our courts as it relates to the fingerprinting of persons, especially first time offenders, convicted of the possession of small quantities of ganja".

In further highlighting the missed opportunities for Jamaica, in the field of medicinal marijuana, Dr.  Wheatley empathised with those who are suffering from ailments such as epilepsy but cannot get treatment because of the tardiness of the government, particularly the families of children who are epileptic: "the debate regarding the value of ganja and its significant medicinal properties is one that is settled.  Marijuana is a most valuable herb. Advances in research and scientific breakthroughs have led to the development of a non-psychoactive strain of the cannabis plant called “Charlotte's Web”.  This particular strain is low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, psychoactive component), and high in cannabidiol (CBD, non-psychoactive component with considerable medical potential).  This specialized strain of medical hemp has helped numerous pediatric patients suffering from epilepsy allowing them to lead normal lives".

In noting that many countries are now seeking to capitalize  on the many benefits of legalization, Dr. Wheatley mentioned the moves by countries such as Uruguay, Ghana, Romania, Canada, Brazil and a vast majority of states in the United States of America that have already acknowledged the economic and medicinal value of Ganja.

He revealed that in jurisdictions where marijuana is legalized, whether for medicinal or recreational purposes, the results include: Increased tax revenues Crimes and fines being replaced with jobs and revenue Heightened interest and investment in biotechnological research: "A legal framework can make what seems to be impossible, quite possible.  Others have managed to do it, why can’t we? It is full time we FREE UP THE HERB, for medicinal purposes".

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