Ganja high

A rising number of Bajans use marijuana

Almost half the Barbadian population has tried marijuana and one in four smoke it regularly, according to a recent survey.

A study conducted last December also found that alcohol remains the drug of choice with seven in ten Barbadians having experimented with drinking.

The survey, commissioned by the Office of the Attorney General, revealed that more than four in ten people (43 per cent) had experimented with ganja, three in ten
(32 per cent) had used it sparingly, while one in four (24 per cent) were regular users.

The survey results were released last night by pollster Peter Wickham at a panel discussion organized by the University of the West Indies Faculty of Social Sciences at Cave Hill.

“So we’re looking at almost a quarter of our population that would say that they regularly use marijuana, a third use it occasionally, and close to half experiment with marijuana,” Wickham, one of the panellists discussing Medical Marijuana: Medical Breakthrough or Further Hindrance to The Development of Caribbean Youth, told the audience.

Even with the growing number of users, alcohol consumption remains high, with experimentation close to 70 per cent, occasional use over 50 per cent, and regular use at 30 per cent, the survey found.

“So ganja still has some catching up to do as far as use is concerned,” Wickham said.

The 2015 study also discovered a dramatic shift in Barbadians’ attitude towards the legalization or decriminalization of the drug.

It showed that the number of Barbadians who believe weed should be partially legalized has trebled from one in ten approximately seven years ago to three in ten today. At the same time, nearly four in ten remained adamant that marijuana should be illegal, down drastically from over seven in ten people during the same period.

“What we’ve seen is a drop from 73 per cent to 37 per cent, which means that since 2008 to 2015 – which is not a long time – 36 per cent less Barbadians support the retention of the status quo [that marijuana is illegal].

“While nine per cent supported partial legalization in 2008, 30 per cent now support partial legalization.”

Wickham, who heads Caribbean Development Research Services (CADRES), a prominent regional polling agency, explained that the growing debate in recent years about the drug had resulted in the rise in support for decriminalization.

“So even though we’re still not supporting it fully, we’re now in a situation where the trend appears to be in the direction of the support for decriminalization, which shouldn’t surprise you,” he said.

The pollster reported that 30 per cent of Barbadians supported legalization for medical or religious purposes and 15 per cent supported complete legalization.

Meantime, retired psychiatrist Dr Ermine Belle threw her support behind easing the laws regarding ganja to allow its use for medical reasons.

Pollster Peter Wickham disclosed that more Bajans support decriminalization of marijuana & Psychiatrist Dr Ermine Belle supports medical marijuana.
Pollster Peter Wickham disclosed that more Bajans support decriminalization of marijuana & Psychiatrist Dr Ermine Belle supports medical marijuana.

Dr Belle, a former Senior Consultant Psychiatrist at the Psychiatric Hospital, told the audience medical marijuana was “not a myth, it is here to stay”.

She stressed that there was evidence that the drug had been successful in treating diseases such as glaucoma, epilepsy, chronic pain and multiple sclerosis.

“Psychiatrists have seen the bad and the ugly of marijuana usage [and] we’ve been in the frontline of treating the negative effects and the outcomes of marijuana usage. We can’t disregard, however, and close our minds to the fact that medical science and research has shown that there are definite benefits to marijuana usage in many chronic physical conditions,” she said.

“How can we ignore facts?”

10 Responses to Ganja high

  1. Keana Clarke
    Keana Clarke May 21, 2016 at 12:08 am

    Where is it statistically or medically proven that marijuana is bad for health in either way? Before wanna ppl study on how to better bim , why 7 million dollars being invested into the country’s half century anniversary, why ppl getting more jail time for a 5 bag of marijuana & people that are visibly seen beating the elderly on video being granted bail & only $3000 mangey dollars at that… Wanna studying how much people using a earthly plant that does no harm to nobody! #BarbadosGovernmentForYuh

  2. Alex Alleyne May 21, 2016 at 2:41 am

    Just want to make sure “that we in BIM don’t wake up one day and find out we importing WEED from America”.

  3. Simon Gooding
    Simon Gooding May 21, 2016 at 3:00 am

    ..Ha…..Do you all sheeple think if cannabis was really bad for your health it would be illegal????..All things that are bad for your health are legal…tabacco…alchol…legal highs…synth drugs.. etc its all about keepin the sheeple in bad health cause theres money to be made from the sick not the healthy…Mariajuana is known to cure most illness an have a lota of benefits for the up bein of the human…clothin …paper… many more wonderful things….why dont some of you educated sheeple start eatin the green grass an leave out smeelin the coffe..?????

  4. Veroniva Boyce
    Veroniva Boyce May 21, 2016 at 4:54 am

    Follow Pattern.

  5. jrsmith May 21, 2016 at 5:25 am

    Why not legalize cocaine heroin as well, just do the whole thing .. they are all plant leaf…

  6. Sherlock Holmes. May 21, 2016 at 9:04 am

    Agreed Jrsmith, this push to legalize cannabis is madness for medical reasons or otherwise, it is purely a start for other moral declines next is same sex marriages trust me, the so called intellectuals of our societies in my opinion are the chief culprits who will cause the erosion of our values and anything that remotely resembles a christian upbringing the plans are in the works.

  7. seagul May 21, 2016 at 11:51 am

    It’s ironical that ganja is outlawed over the years but when you look at cigarettes. I mean the man that’s making them is writing on the box that cigarette smoking is dangerous to your health and kills. But people bypass the message on the box. How can a man make a product and tell you it going to kill you and you still insist to use it. What on earth has Ganja use has to do with same sex marriage…by the way…
    It is necessary that we understand the difference between Religion and Spirituality. Religion is a set of rules and regulations created by man–such as incriminating a plant– which is suppose to help us grow spirituality.

  8. lester May 21, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    The correlation between marijuana use and madness is clearly seen in this article and it is more troubling that a homosexual activist is at the forefront of the battle, nevertheless let me just enlighten what these stats are saying ” BARBADOS IN TROUBLE”. Who in there right minds would want to see ganja legalize and using the red herring for medicinal purposes, 99% of those who smokes weed do for recreation, just for the high, check around barbados and see the large amount of young men captivated by this plant, a loss nation always turn to drugs for ” released” however temporary.
    We have enough messed up people, smoking is wrong, full stop, drinking alcohol is wrong, full stop so dump the comparative analysis and teach our people to do more productive and moral things that will benefit our country, legalizing corruption won’t help

  9. seagul May 21, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    The definition of a drug–check it out. All smoke is injurious to health,fact—but get your head out of the box, there is so much more that can be done with this godly plant.


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