Minister for Health and Social Services, Dr. Kenneth Darroux has called for “balanced and sober discussion” surrounding what he described as the ‘Great Marijuana Debate’.
Dr. Darroux, who is a medical doctor, said he is able to properly “asses the pros and cons” and give an objective view on the subject while addressing Parliament on Tuesday 31 July 2018.
Dr. Darroux said despite statements from Opposition Leader, Lennox Linton, the discussion was started by CARICOM in 2014, when a commission was appointed comprising of “high profile individuals with specialized skillsets”; a medical doctor, sociologists, psychiatrists, social workers, lawyers, law enforcements experts, religious leaders among others.
“Way back in 2014/2015, the CARICOM Heads of Government would have taken a decision to put this CARICOM Commission on Marijuana in place, and the reason why nothing has been done is because they were awaiting the reports from this commission which was tabled at the last heads meeting in Jamaica,” he stated.
Dr. Darroux said while the Prime Minister has announced that Dominica will start looking at the issue of the medicinal use of marijuana, “this is not something that you can just go ahead and do in an irresponsible way, or just for vote catching.”
“The commission will ensure,” he noted, “that a balanced discussion will be had and not just reckless statements.”
According to Darroux, recent reports from the commission speak of a unanimous view and a call for cannabis to be classified as a ‘controlled substance’, instead of its current classification, ‘a dangerous drug with no value or narcotic.’
He noted that while the medical and scientific advances pertaining to the use of marijuana in the treatment of cancer and other neurological ailments, “cannot be denied”, the “good herb has its dark side”.
Dr. Darroux further informed Parliament that despite advances and its legalization in America, “thousands of people still visit the emergency rooms across the USA for ailments, incidents and accidents resulting from directly related use of marijuana.”
“So we cannot refute it, but at the same time we have to be careful, we have to be balanced and objective in the way we approach this,” Dr. Darroux said.
“Because hallucinatory effects of cannabis are documented and psychotic behavior can be directly related to the use of marijuana. So the discussion has to be a sober one and not one of vote catching antics,” Dr. Darroux further added.