The question that is on everyone’s lips nowadays legalise it or not- we are talking of Cannabis of course, locally known as “gandia” or “mass”. Recently, the Prime Minister stated that he will not legalise cannabis as the situation is already alarming and even deteriorating with the increased ravages of synthetic drugs on the island. Drug consumption and trafficking of synthetic drugs are making the headlines everyday with numerous police arrests and seizure, video clips and even the death of someone under police custody.
Marijuana is a combination of shredded leaves, stems and flower buds of the Cannabis sativa plant. Marijuana can be smoked, eaten, vaporized, brewed and even taken topically, but most people smoke it. It must be noted that smoking “gandia” forms part of cultural beliefs for Rastafari movements and sadhus since long time ago.
In the United States of America, according to the National Institutes of Health, people have used marijuana, or cannabis, to treat their ailments for at least 3,000 years. However, the Food and Drug Administration has not deemed marijuana safe or effective in the treatment of any medical condition. This tension between a widespread belief that marijuana is an effective treatment for a wide assortment of ailments and a lack of scientific knowledge on its effects, has been somewhat exacerbated in recent times by a drive towards legalization.
Dr Jensen Jaganathen, an eminent Mauritian scientist stated that he is for the legalization of cannabis for treatment of diseases like cancer in order to relieve the patient from pain. Even members of the opposition are going in the same line. One must bear in mind, when we are talking about legalisation it’s only for treatment and upon consultation and approval of medical practitioners to use such drugs and not for daily usage like drug addicts.
Over the years, research has yielded results to suggest that marijuana may be of benefit in the treatment of some conditions like chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, Dravet syndrome (a rare form of epilepsy) and there are also health risks for daily consumption of gandia like mental health problems, respiratory disease to name a few. Two authors who published in the journal “Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine” concluded: “The medicinal use of marijuana is likely not harmful to lungs in low cumulative doses,” but they added that “the dose limit needs to be defined. Recreational use is not the same as medicinal use and should be discouraged.”
Will legalisation of cannabis curtail the ravages of synthetic drugs in Paradise Island, will the consumption of drugs and drug trafficking reduce, what will be the measures to control the usage of drugs for medicinal purposes? All these questions must be well addressed before taking a decision. A good framework will definitely help in treatment of diseases but it is a dangerous track which is a double edged sword.
As Simon Sinek stated: “There is no decision that we can make that doesn’t come with some sort of balance or sacrifice.” This quote clearly summarises whether we should legalise gandia or not.