We must be educated about marijuana

Dear Editor,

His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I once stated, “Education develops the intellect and the intellect distinguishes man from other creatures. It is education that enables man to harness nature and utilize her resources for the well-being and improvement of his life. The key for betterment and completeness in modern living is education, but ‘man cannot live by bread alone’. Man, after all, is composed of intellect and soul. Therefore, education in general and higher education in particular must aim to provide beyond the physical food for the intellect and soul. So it is fair for us to state that any education that ignores man’s intrinsic nature and neglects his intellect and reasoning power cannot be considered true education.”

Before making final judgment on the cannabis or hemp plant, one must search its background and find its truth, which takes us on our journey through history.

In 1619 in Jamestown Colony, Virginia, the first Native American marijuana law was passed which forced farmers to grow hemp.

In 1850, cannabis extracts were widely recommended and sold over the counter in western pharmaceutical companies.

It was not until the influx of Mexicans between 1915 and 1927 that bans were passed in nine states restricting the use of hemp.

Between 1929 and 1936, recreational marijuana use spread among minorities.

“Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men,” stated Harry J. Anslinger, who was head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics.

He said, “I wish I can show you what a small marijuana cigarette can do to one of our degenerate Spanish-speaking residents.”

It is believed that cannabis or the hemp plant originally evolved in Central Asia before being introduced to Africa, Europe and eventually the Americas.

During this time, hemp fiber was used to make clothing, paper, sails and ropes as its seeds were used for food.

As most of these ancient cultures used hemp for medical purposes it was also shared in ceremonial activities.

There is evidence that these early cultures would have known about the psychoactive effects of cannabis which they cultivated in much stronger streams for these religious ceremonies.

It was a regular custom for shamans in both China and Siberia to have burned hemp seeds placed in their graves to assist with their travels.

Shortly after Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt, it was found that his troops were smoking cannabis hashish and drinking cannabis-based beverages.

Are we truly ready to lose out on the many benefits of cannabis or hemp?

It is a proven fact that medical cannabis can help with many of today’s diseases such as anxiety, arthritis, back pain, cancer, diabetes, depression, epilepsy, glaucoma and many more that are constant reminders of time.

Change does not necessarily assure progress, but progress implacably requires change.

It truly takes education to make proper judgment on cannabis or hemp and I believe that any further delay on the decriminalization of cannabis would leave us centuries behind the world.

There are 30 nations with cannabis laws — from Argentina to our neighbor Jamaica, ending with Zimbabwe and many more in hot pursuit to change their laws to better help their societies and people.

Can The Bahamas be the 31st?

An old Chinese proverb says “if you’re planning for a year, sow rice; if planning for a decade, plant trees; and if planning for a lifetime, educate people”.

Become the difference you wish to see.

– H. Hilton Gibson, vice president, Freeport Branch, Marijuana Bahamas

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