If radio presenter Blakk Rasta had any doubts about the support he commands from the Rastafarian family and others on the usage of marijuana, his doubt must have been quelled per the show of support he has enjoyed since his visit to parliament house.
Although it sure wasn’t a prime performance, the faithful remaining grateful that an advocate had managed to focus the lenses on the quest to have the one product with so many nicknames legalized in the country.
The immense support must have led Blakk to be mentally conditioned for any challenge henceforth and explains his brazen choice of music upon his return since the marijuana and MP/s furore. Opening his shows now with marijuana laden songs, Blakk Rasta has played songs from Peter Tosh, Culture through to Marley touching on the weed subject.
His rhetoric that hemp be legalized for pharmacopeia and economic purposes (silk, fibre, paper, textile, braking disc, soap, shampoo, perfume, care cream, lip balm and bags) has gained a new verve and it remains to be seen what fruits would yield given that the Salaga soldier intends to hold a 1 million man march to press home the demand for parliamentarians to repeal the repressive wee laws.
But one might ask, what is the noise about marijuana usage? For one thing, the natural product with many nicknames such as wee, hemp, weed, ntampi, ganja, cannabis sativa, abosam tawa, high-grade, chufunta, the herb legal or not has many users who utilize it for medicinal, recreational and economic purposes.
Veteran journalist and Editor-in-chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper Abdul Malik Kweku Baako in voicing his opinion when the legal hemp use emerged a while back confessed to smoking marijuana for almost 26 years but was keen to reveal that he wasn’t keen on seeing ganja legalized because of certain adverse effects.
The best Ghanaian journalist in 1999 noted that although a national debate on the matter is worthwhile, there must be preliminary discussions between experts in the pharmaceutical industry, psychiatrist and other relevant stakeholders before being taken to parliament for amendment or enactment of a law.
The Executive Secretary of the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB), Mr. Akrasi Sarpong a man tasked with ensuring that drug use in the country is regulated is known to have called for the legalization of marijuana usage to regulate its use and generate much needed revenue for the state through export.
According to a study, a marijuana smoker would have to consume 20,000 to 40,000 times the amount of THC in a joint in order to be at risk of dying.
In 2010, overdoses were responsible for 38,329 deaths in the US. Sixty percent of those were related to prescription drugs. In the same year, a total of 25,692 persons died of alcohol-induced causes, including accidental poisoning and disease from dependent use indicating that alcohol and prescribed pills abuse contribute to many deaths as opposed to marijuana use.
Ghana and Jamaica have a lot in common since a good number of slaves taken from Ghana were sent to the island. Meals, names and customs bear similarities but another thing that binds the two countries is the high-grade marijuana grown in the two countries thanks to the hot climate and fertile soil which favour the plant.
In Jamaica, a third of the citizens have used marijuana despite it being illegal to possess/use ganja since 1913. Greats such as Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Culture have labeled the law as absurd, they have called for repeal but till date it remains illegal to use marijuana on the island. Similarly the law in Ghana frowns on the use of the herb.
But why does an increasing number of global citizens use the herb/cannabis/marijuana/ganja/wee/weed:
“It’s a good vacation piece”- shaggy
“It’s for meditation” -busy signal
“It’s a natural herb, it’s a natural plant that grows within creation, how harmful could it be” –Morgan Heritage.
“It helps people with ADD to concentrate, it helps brain cancer patients, cigarettes have done a lot more harm. It’s been demonized but it shouldn’t be” –Sean Paul
“Wee makes you creative, eat, sleep, laugh and gives good vibes”- Mighty Crown
Back home Samini urges folks who consume both the local gin and ganja to opt for one on his gyae shee track but judging from his HighGrade Family record label one can deduce which the Money Biz hitmaker would choose.
Ras Kukuu draws his inspiration to use the herb from Revelation 22, Genesis 1:11-12, as well as proverbs 15 and 17. The Puom Anthem singer adds that he wants ganja and not Fanta for higher meditation.
Original Shana of Honey, Legalize It, Money Matters and Eye Me Dei fame is another strong advocate for marijuana to get its license while ‘Yaw Bayereba’ himself makes his case demanding the highgrade instead of the chufunta citing the bull, zebra and buffalo as creatures who all attest to the might of the herb as well as Oprah Winfery, Mohammad Ali, Luther King, Shabazz, Elijah Mohammad and King Solomon who admired/admire the wisdom cake.
The types of marijuana a.k.a (the stuff of life) include:
White Ice (high grade) is a hybrid of 35 strains of marijuana. Users say it gives a body high, a relaxing buzz and feelings of euphoria.
Some add raw tobacco to marijuana to season or spice it up.
Indica Skunk: known for its robustness, it grows faster than other strain of marijuana.
Purple Skunk: known for its uplifting and sometimes psychedelic high.
Upon entry in the US, it was available in chopped, powder and whole form. It was easily available and used till congress enacted the Marijuana Tax Act which sought to reduce usage.
“As a cancer doctor, on a daily basis I see patients with cancer who have nausea, loss of appetite, pain, depression and insomnia. In my over 30 years’ experience one medicine provides relief instead of writing 5 different prescriptions which come with side effects and addictive properties. I simply urge patients to try marijuana to take care of their symptoms” Donald Abrams, a medical doctor in the US explains.
Why then do certain governments including the Ghanaian and Jamaican ones throw people in jail for marijuana use?
The popular claim is that weed is the currency criminals use to buy and arms and ammunition for violent attacks. The police have thus adopted a zero tolerance response to ganja leading to the destruction of wee farms operated by poor farmers who sell to the wee traders.
Another claim is that wee is a gateway drug for stronger drugs like cocaine, heroin and ecstasy. Dr. Donald Tashkin MD of the US however maintains the adverse effects/addictive potential and gateway drugness of marijuana are overstated.
Given that a United Nation’s report cited Ghana as the number 1 consumer of marijuana in the world, the time has come to chart the way forward as to how to handle marijuana usage in the country as a good number of citizens already use the product in various capacities.
The words of Orville, a herb smoker are incisive: “if you steal to get the money to smoke, you going feel the police is after you. If you work for the money, you enjoy your light”, perhaps this explains why people keep watching out coupled with the fact that the police will indeed come after you when caught smoking.
Those who label marijuana negatively do so because of stories they’ve been fed but even though I have never tasted marijuana, per my residence I have seen all sorts of people who use marijuana yet exhibit different traits because people have varied compositions (introverts/extroverts).
As with anything else there are good quality wee and poor ones, be mindful of what you put in your body.
To think that a Sunyani MP first called for a grand debate on the legalization of marijuana in the country in 1981 and we are yet to digest the issues in 2015 is an indictment on us all.