Our Readers' Opinions
September 1, 2017
Time for action! A case for medical marijuana

Editor: Scenario 1: A Vincentian who served in the foreign military returns for a visit and has a valid prescription for Medical Marijuana (MM) which he received from a registered doctor in the USA. He is fortunate that his luggage is not searched at AIA, but his stash of MM runs out and needs to fill his prescription locally. Where in SVG is there a pharmacy, government or private, where he can fill his prescription legally?

Scenario 2: Another Vincentian returning from Canada with glaucoma problems also has a valid prescription and declares her medicines upon arrival. In the absence of any legislation or MOU the lady’s stash of MM is confiscated and the lady has to suffer for lack of a trusted and proven natural medication with little or no side effects.

Scenario 3: A diplomat from a developing country, who is also a convalescing patient, requests from his liaison officer where he can ‘top up’ on his supply of MM while on official business here.

These are a few of several real world scenarios which will be staring us in the face shortly, if not as yet.

How are we as a developing nation addressing the issue? Are we going to wait until the situation arises, then hurriedly look for solutions, or are we bold and strong enough to announce that we are on board with developing nations to cash in on the exciting possibilities that exist, which will be beneficial in several ways: firstly to the patients, secondly to the ganja farmers, thirdly to the local pharmaceutical industry and equally important to our regional and international image. Yes, it can be done in a structured way.

The information is there, ganja has been demonized for too long by persons who have not done enough research and by those who feed on misinformation by lobbyists who are paid by large pharmaceutical companies to put a negative spin on marijuana.

Several years ago, when Vincentian doctor Albert Lockhart delivered a lecture at the UWI Extramural Centre here, which was chaired by Dr Adrian Fraser, among the matters raised was that from his research and also confirmed by other researchers, there is NO clinical evidence to support that any person who uses ganja ‘alone’ was guilty of any criminal behaviour induced by the herb. Dr Lockhart and Jamaican doctor Manley West have already manufactured three prescription drugs from the marijuana plant, including Marinol for motion sickness, Canasol for glaucoma and another drug for asthma. Israel has made a very interesting drug from ganja that can reverse the damage caused by strokes, if administered within three hours of the accident.

Why do we have to be the last in everything ? What are we waiting for? If we pride ourselves as being a progressive country with progressive leaders and progressive thinkers, let’s get some progressive ACTION, not tomorrow, but NOW !!!

Donald De Riggs