Clinic against legalizing pot

Counsellor at the Centre For Counselling Addiction Support Alternatives (CASA), Jerry Bellamy, has come out strongly against the legalization of marijuana in Barbados.

Bellamy issued his caution today during an interview with Barbados TODAY at the clinic’s headquarters in Westbury Road, St Michael.

Giving his reason for opposing the legalization of this mind-altering drug, Bellamy said: “Most of the cases we encounter at CASA involve the abuse of marijuana. The misuse of marijuana can result in the loss of memory, a change in behaviour, and a decline in discipline. During my counselling sessions I usually show the youth the dangers of marijuana.

CASA counsellor Jerry Bellamy (at centre),  volunteer Sherryl Griffith  (at left) and board trustee Jennifer Maynard.
CASA counsellor Jerry Bellamy (at centre), volunteer Sherryl Griffith (at left) and board trustee Jennifer Maynard.

“The drug is very damaging to the developing mind, and we focus on this area. It can retard the development of the young mind. Between the school age of five and 18 years is the time a child needs to be alert to learn things, and build character and learn values.”

Noting that most of the people attending clinics at CASA were between the ages of 13 and the early 30s, with approximately 80 per cent being male, Bellamy contended that too many young people were being incarcerated for marijuana use, which is really a health issue.

Jerry Bellamy
Jerry Bellamy

“Incarceration does not help victims of marijuana abuse,” the counsellor advised. “These people need therapy. We at CASA teach clients how to deal with stressful situations, how to be assertive without being rude and crude, and how to build positive self-esteem.

“We also advise them against frequenting certain areas. A lot of adolescents today live in very stressful situations,” Bellamy revealed.

He further explained that many of today’s youth used marijuana as a “relaxer”, a stress reliever from the current harsh social and economic realities.

Bellamy pointed out that over its 15 years, the clinic had assisted more than 2,000 people, many of whom had been referred by the Royal Barbados Police Force, schools, the law courts, the Child Care Board, and parents.

The long-standing counsellor charged that many of the youth referred to CASA had come from dysfuntional homes where parents knew very little about parenting.

Retired teacher Sherryl Griffith, who serves as a volunteer counsellor, said that initially CASA catered to the needs of adults who had fallen victim to alcohol abuse, but later introduced a programme that sought to educate and prevent children between the ages of five and 13 from falling victim to marijuana abuse.

Griffith further stated that the organization, which was founded by returning national Orlando Jones, boasted trained individuals who held Master’s degrees in social work, psychology and sociology.

Meanwhile, board trustee Jennifer Maynard has called on the corporate sector to come on board at this time of economic turbulence, as CASA had had to scale back the operations of the clinic.

19 Responses to Clinic against legalizing pot

  1. Devonte Mccollin
    Devonte Mccollin April 17, 2015 at 9:44 am

    He’s an idiot

    Reply
  2. Seth St John
    Seth St John April 17, 2015 at 9:51 am

    And I suppose these people would strongly welcome a return of prohibition also, yes, let’s use marijuana as a scapegoat for deep rooted issues affecting our society while ignoring the fact that the end of the world type scenarios envisioned by educated ignorant people don’t seem to be playing out anywhere in the world where it is actually legalized…. While I don’t personally have any interest in smoking marijuana, I cannot, as an open minded individual, ignore the fact that several substances widely sold, and indeed considered part of our culture and heritage, do untold damage to our citizens, our health care system, and cause problems that affect every single bajan in some way or the other…it’s funny how you never see these same people speaking out against sugar, our only real cash crop, and our oldest export… Diabetes anyone? But nope, makes food and drink taste great so we keep our mouths shut and ignore that very real problem.. Rum? Beer? No everyone likes a drink after work to relax… Let’s ignore the fact that you can witness people drunk driving every single day of the week in BIM, we don’t even want breathalyzers here.. Das we culture! But we grew up with marihuana as an illegal substance so let’s keep it that way… Do they even know why it was made illegal? Do they consider the fact that the cotton industry in the us wanted to remove competition from the hemp industry so lobbied to make a plant illegal? Bah… With the forward thinking people running this country I’m just amazed we have got out of the Industrial Age and don’t use steam engines and horse drawn buggies anymore. Meanwhile, let’s watch the rest of the Caribbean go to alternative energy, healthier lifestyles and legal marijuana, cuz it isn’t like those things attract tourists or anything….

    Reply
    • Martine Boyer
      Martine Boyer April 17, 2015 at 12:17 pm

      Thank you for your comment. Sugar and alcohol are the causes of many diseases

      Reply
    • Seth St John
      Seth St John April 17, 2015 at 3:22 pm

      But ignored, because it’s the norm, I can find a million research papers on the dangers of sugar and alcohol, but both are readily accepted in our society

      Reply
  3. Doria Alleyne
    Doria Alleyne April 17, 2015 at 10:02 am

    Yes he is an *IDIOT*

    Reply
  4. Papa
    Papa'Shawn Forde April 17, 2015 at 10:31 am

    Our PM recently said he hope that it is not a situation where we in d carribean get leff behind on d issue of ganja legalization and I strongly believe he want to legalize it but does he have da ball too every getting youth behind ya and nuff from high society don’t be afraid mek ya mark skipper sail d ship I remember d photo wid u got on d captain hat after elections so sail dis ship weed votes do count

    Reply
  5. Papa
    Papa'Shawn Forde April 17, 2015 at 10:31 am

    Our PM recently said he hope that it is not a situation where we in d carribean get leff behind on d issue of ganja legalization and I strongly believe he want to legalize it but does he have da ball too every getting youth behind ya and nuff from high society don’t be afraid mek ya mark skipper sail d ship I remember d photo wid u got on d captain hat after elections so sail dis ship weed votes do count

    Reply
  6. Papa
    Papa'Shawn Forde April 17, 2015 at 10:31 am

    Our PM recently said he hope that it is not a situation where we in d carribean get leff behind on d issue of ganja legalization and I strongly believe he want to legalize it but does he have da ball too every getto youth behind ya and nuff from high society don’t be afraid mek ya mark skipper sail d ship I remember d photo wid u got on d captain hat after elections so sail dis ship weed votes do count

    Reply
  7. Michael Bait Williams
    Michael Bait Williams April 17, 2015 at 10:50 am

    I knew it … i knew it… lolol. Saw it from the time California did it…the USA is slowly integrating the legality of this substance state after state… we as a country being so stringed to America and heavily dependant on tourism will eventually be forced to put ganja on the shelves for sale. Its called survival.

    Reply
  8. Ambitious Shorty
    Ambitious Shorty April 17, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    stupse

    Reply
  9. Damian Hinkson
    Damian Hinkson April 17, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    Some questions? you say that most of the people that have received treatment for marijuana were sent there form court, school etc…. so that means it is against there will.

    if Marijuana was made legal tomorrow would you smoke it?

    how would legalisation affect you cash flow?

    Reply
  10. Gregg Moseley Clarke
    Gregg Moseley Clarke April 17, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    stupse uninformed, miseducated, it truly is unfortunate that people of such thinking hold these position.

    Reply
  11. Thomas Katt
    Thomas Katt April 17, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    Your lungs weren’t made for smoke of any kind. Also, because tobacco and alcohol is legal but unhealthy, should we legalised another unhealthy drug…but to each his own. I agree totally with the councilor. Been there, done that.

    Reply
    • Maria Leclair
      Maria Leclair April 17, 2015 at 2:54 pm

      Although I am not against the legalization for personal and health issue. I also do agree with you your point of view. There must be significant advantages for legalisation, if legalisation will decrease crime significantly then there needs to be serious consideration to legalise.

      Reply
    • Maria Leclair
      Maria Leclair April 17, 2015 at 3:04 pm

      We don’t need another harmful drug to add to the existing ones, however there is substantial evidence marijuana is relatively safe.

      Reply
  12. Sam Clarke
    Sam Clarke April 17, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    Now tell me. LEGALIZING GANJA WILL HELP OUT ECONOMICALLY BY THE TAXES RAISED BY GOVERNMENT, PLUS THE SAVINGS ON PROSECUTION AND LAW ENFORCEMENT BUDGETS, CAN BETTER BE SPENT ON HEALTH CARE AND OTHER BADLY DESERVING ASPECT OF GOVERNMENT.

    Reply
  13. Niel Harper
    Niel Harper April 17, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    I think what a lot of the naysayers are not recognizing is that the government’s job IS NOT to regulate personal behaviors. Anything that is abused is dangerous, and the government needs to look at what the burden will be on the healthcare system for legalizing marijuana. They also need to look at the amount of costs that will be eliminated from the judicial system with regards to to the multitude of weeds cases (as well as the incarceration costs). And on top of that, they need to also take into consideration that by product industries that legalization will create such as industrial hemp farming, hemp oil, pharmaceuticals, textiles, cosmetics, etc. I think the perspectives originating from CASA are narrow and antiquated.

    Reply
  14. Junior Evans
    Junior Evans April 17, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    These people to old man fa real, people need to open up.

    Reply
  15. Harry Turnover April 18, 2015 at 6:52 am

    I am sure if GLAUCOMA was SLOWLY ravishing their eye sights and no amount of MEDICATION could reduce the pressure in their eyes,they would have said YEAH to the idea.

    …..but it appears their eye sights are intact and so they are ONLY interested in the negatives.

    A well known ANTIGUAN cricketer of the past uses marijuana tea to REDUCE the pressure in his eyes.

    I would allow ALL glaucoma sufferers ( certified by MEDICAL PRACTIONERS) to be prescribed ( if they like ) for the use of it.

    Reply

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