A marijuana plant in St. Vincent. (iWN file photo)

The Christian Council is raising questions about “the imperialistic and neo-colonial undertones” of the proposed medical marijuana industry in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).

On Monday, the Christian Council issued its second statement this year about the proposed industry.

The SVG Mission of Seventh-day Adventists, the Association of Evangelical Churches, and the Spiritual Baptist Archdiocese endorsed the statement.

The statement comes even as a select committee of Parliament, of which the Christian Council is a part, is reviewing medical marijuana legislation.

The group, however, said that its participation in the committee is not an endorsement of the proposed change of the law.

The council said there is good reason to anticipate a windfall of revenues in the preliminary years of the medical marijuana industry.

“… however, have we sufficiently considered the possibility and implications of having large marijuana farms and no markets — because companies have pulled out?” the council said.

It said the regulations seek to tie the cultivation necessarily to the supply and consider potential areas of breach.

“… have we given sufficient consideration that variations in implementation can very well leave us with plantations and not ready markets? Have we considered the possibility that marijuana can become our new banana — where, we have little or no market advantage to compete with other countries with larger farms and cheaper products?” the Christian Council said.

“Or have we considered, as scientifically as practicable, that the science regarding marijuana is relatively ‘young’ and as such with increasing acceptance and access comes greater research and scrutiny which gives rise to research claims like that of the American College of Cardiology who contend that marijuana use is associated with increased risk of stroke and heart failure?

“To what extent have we considered marijuana’s complex nature and its evolution over the years to a less ‘natural’ and more potent drug and the implications this has on the longevity of the ‘industry?”

The council said that as the research emerges, is it possible that this increasingly “‘unnatural herb’ and the discovery of the nature and impact of the various components of marijuana can leave us with products and a substantially changed weed and drug culture to negotiate? This also is a question of sufficiency of research and responsible speculation.”

‘neo-colonial undertones to this new ‘cash cow’’

The council also asked if SVG has considered “the imperialistic and neo-colonial undertones to this new ‘cash cow’”.

It also asked the public to consider to what extent, in its quest to have a windfall, is SVG “pandering to, and perpetuating an ideological and existential phenomenon built on principles of exploitation and manipulation using money and monetisation as the primary medium”.

“Have we sufficiently considered the possibility that the global landscape of this industry is about making space for large companies and corporations who determine the regulatory framework, which create opportunity for them to capitalise while ensuring (whether deliberately or coincidentally) that the small man is excluded or marginal? A process which manipulatively uses the legitimate concern of protecting our youth and society from the proliferation of a narcotic.”

The council also asked about the extent to which SVG has analysed the narrative of drug use locally and globally, which, it said, reflects that in most jurisdictions, the significant at-risk demographic in the trade of narcotics and intoxicants are the poor.

“Research and observational data continues to reveal that the vast majority of wealth from alcohol and the drug trade reflects a major disproportion in profit versus use, since the more affluent benefit while the poor are the major consumers and disproportionately carry the burdens of abuse and dysfunction?

“As such, have we considered who (potentially) will be our greatest causalities in an environment where there will inevitably be an increased access to a narcotic, and correspondingly, who will prosper?

“Have we considered that this industry and the rapidly increasing interest in liberalisation has little to do with the ‘herb’ and its medicinal benefits or religious significance and ‘everything’ to do with the commercialisation of marijuana or, in some cases, of the commercialisation THC as a cash cow, since marijuana may have the greatest potential for creating legal space or loopholes to facilitate trade in a narcotic — a drug trade where millions of dollars are already being made?”

The council asked about lessons learnt from the tobacco industry?

“Is there a need, as part of this exploration and imperialism narrative, to monitor tobacco companies’ interest in the marijuana industry? How do we mitigate against them and others commercialising weed by introducing methods of making the product more appealing (such as menthol additives) and finding ways of optimising the psychoactive effect, ‘deliberately’ making it more addictive? Shouldn’t we ask these kinds of questions to avoid ‘biting off more than we can chew’?”

In February, one month before the marijuana law was initially expected to be tabled in Parliament, the council issued a statement expressing concern about government’s approach to medical weed.

“The haste at which the Government is moving on the matter gives a distinct impression that this is a ‘fait accompli’ and that public consultation is either for ‘rubber stamping’ or to fine-tune the forward thrust,” the council had said.

It also said that medical marijuana would not curb the demand for illegal marijuana in SVG.

“The assumption that current producers will abandon that illegal trade for a highly regulated alternative seems quite unlikely, the council had said.

In September, Minister of Agriculture, Saboto Caesar, tabled three pieces of legislation related to the establishment of a medicinal cannabis industry in SVG.

The bills were sent to a select committee for review and are expected to be debated in Parliament later this year.

The bills came to Parliament almost six months later than expected. The Ralph Gonsalves administration had indicated its desire to have the relevant laws passed by March.

The prime minister has made it clear that his government would not legalise marijuana for recreational use at this time.

The main opposition New Democratic Party has suggested the position it would take on the bill.

Opposition Leader Godwin Friday said in January that the government must ensure that any medical marijuana industry established in SVG benefit citizens.

5 replies on “SVG’s medical weed law has ‘neo-colonial undertones’ — churches ”

  1. Duke DeArment says:

    Medicinal Ganja, just like Coffee is a mixed bag. For some people Medicinal Ganja is the greatest substance on earth because it has cured them and saved thier live; and for some it is terrible. For the general patient the drug is no better than aspirin unless that person has those particular afflictions. Because it is now being grown all over, the supply will soon out perform the demand and I would expect a massive price drop. The churches are often way behind the times. As much as I really appreciate the 7th Day Adventists they still think Coffee is a terrible health hazard. This is based on the fact that early studies of coffee were conducted primarily with people that also smoked; and those bad effects were attributed to Coffee. Modern studies have proven that in most cases Coffee, when used in moderation, for most people, (not including those with hypertension), has far more health and positive effects than negative. Many churches, especially the 7th Day Adventists and Mormons are way behind the times and “brain-washed” to such a thourough extent that they will never change thier minds that are based on out-dated and flawed information. They act as if the Medicinal Ganja is the Recreational Ganja, which it is not. They really have to wake-up and smell the coffee.

  2. While individuals promoting the extensive legal growing of Cannabis here all tend to be ignoring that the Government has before Parliament not one but 3 Parliamentary Bills. Yes not just one but 3 Parliamentary Bills.

    As such, the advocates of this extensive growing of Cannabis here would have us focus our attention only on one Bill, that Bill for medical Cannabis use. That flagging up however, is intended entirely as a dishonest deception by these advocates.

    While the recreational use of cannabis is not being overtly promoted in these Parliamentary Bills, one bill however, proposes Cannabis for religious use and that in itself, is easily foreseeably could indeed singlehandedly have profoundly far reaching consequences, on our nation’s wellbeing as a whole.

    The Canadian Medical Association Journal in an article headed “Watching Canada’s experiment with legal cannabis” have flagged up many concerns for a society with the plentiful supply of home-grown Cannabis there in Canada. ( http://www.cmaj.ca/content/190/41/E1218 ) And Professor Robin Murry well documented research at Kings College University London, have indeed made known the severe consequence of psychosis with the recreational use of cannabis on some individuals according to their DNA.

    It may also be noted that “Compared to nonusers, cannabis users had about twice the risk of experiencing a serious complication known as diabetic ketoacidosis, a study of 450 patients in Colorado found”

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-6356153/Cannabis-tied-type-1-diabetes-complications-study-finds.html

    My question is this; Are we so immoral that we are so readily prepared to gamble with the nation’s wellbeing? Reframing Psychotic Illness. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uaUIvSl9Kps)

    Our Bible reminds us that “……THE LOVE OF MONEY is a ROOT of all kinds of evil…”

  3. Many good points made by these church people except falsely calling marijuana “addictive” and falsely labelling it a “narcotic.”

    At the end of the day, as Duke DeArment rightly claims, this explosion in interest in marijuana production, including medical marijuana, will end up a flash in the pan as better and more reliable synthetics for medical marijuana are developed which would eliminate the altered consciousness (“high”) of the substance and as the supply of high quality and high THC marijuana by big producers and big companies push little SVG and other marginal players out of the market. Indeed, our snail’s pace movement on marijuana will mean that we will never get a change to ever enter the market.

    I predict that in 10-20 years, if marijuana is decriminlized in SVG, we will be cheaply importing great quality weed from Canada, Jamaica, Columbia, and Venezuela.

  4. Like many things, some individuals do get addicted to cannabis, according to Professor Robin Murry at Kings College University London, UK. After all the fact that the chemical in cannabis that gives one a high is craved after can indeed cause some individuals to become addictive.

    Synthetic Cannabis have already penetrated the market in some places and is often called spice.
    This synthetic Cannabis Spice, is a plant-based mix of herbs laced with synthetic chemicals meant to mimic cannabis’s psychoactive substances.

    It is called “synthetic cannabis” or “fake weed” because some of the chemicals in it are similar to the ones in cannabis; but its effects are sometimes very different from cannabis, and frequently much stronger. Usually the chemicals are sprayed onto plant materials to make it look like cannabis.
    https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/what-is-spice-calls-for-zombie-drug-to-be-made-class-a-a3923646.html

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