Monthly Archives: February 2020

Prohibition and its War on Ganja and Ganja Users

Myths and Reality of Ganja

T&T is a signatory to the international agreement that insists that Ganja is a dangerous drug in spite of the decriminalization of 30 grams and less of ganja in your personal possession in 2019. This article deals with the issue of what is a dangerous drug under the law and the current discourse of ganja in the North Atlantic. After millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money have been spent on ganja research by the state in the North Atlantic, no scientific evidence is forthcoming, that ganja changes the chemistry of the brain by stimulating the production of dopamine by the brain, to the point where the brain becomes addicted to the tsunami of dopamine. To maintain this tsunami, dopamine utilizes its impact on reward and reinforcement, by having the human repeat the action of ingesting the product that stimulates the brain to produce the flood of dopamine. Cocaine, heroin, nicotine, meth are potent examples of chemicals that trigger the brain to produce tsunamis of dopamine and dopamine rewards and reinforces the ingestion of these chemicals by the human, to ensure the brain gets its high. The addicted brain creates the addicted human and both go into crisis when dopamine production collapses in the brain, pushing the brain and the human into bouts of craving and the sickness of withdrawal where addicted brain and the human are now de-socialized, asocial capable of doing anything for a fix.

Ganja does not stimulate the production of dopamine to the point where the brain is addicted to it, as a result and demands more and more of ganja creating and addicted brain and an addicted human. Why then is ganja banned as a dangerous drug when it does not impact the brain as cocaine, heroin, meth which are all illegal and nicotine which is perfectly legal? The white supremacist history of the USA provides the answer where with the end of African enslavement in 1865 there was a need for race/social control of the now freed Africans. The politicians of the South invested in an assault on ganja then cocaine, as drugs particularly favored by African men who when intoxicated were raping white women, and posed grave threats to the white social order as ganja then cocaine made them violent, uncontrollable, potent threats to white society. In the US House of Representatives the southern politicians forced the issue by invoking the white peril at the hands of the free African which then became law. The war on drugs in the US is then premised on race/social control and in the geo-political context on imperial power.

The failure of research to prove that ganja is a dangerous drug, heightened the drive to create a science of the dangerous nature of ganja to humans by any means necessary. The basis of this science remains in the 21st century the moral panic evoked by ganja use. This science has created the scientific concept of: “ganja use disorder” where ganja use especially chronic ganja use results in a disorder of the body, but what is chronic use remains diverse as the research to define it only generates a diversity of opinion. Using ganja for twelve months consecutively now constitutes chronic use in the official addiction intervention literature and ganja users in this category are supposed to show evidence of the disorder. The grave problem of this concept shows the game that created it, for if ganja use creates a disorder in the human body where then is the disease that drives the disorder? Using ganja is then a disease, a moral disease, indicative of moral decay and this is the only reason why it is a dangerous drug! The science of ganja as a dangerous drug has never dropped the moral panic of reefer madness as the prime justification for insisting that ganja is a dangerous drug. The white supremacist reason for banning ganja in the USA is still operative in the 21st century and applied in countries where the population is predominantly non-white by non-white politicians to indicate that they are good servants of massa, yessum massa sah, no sah massa sah!

The science of ganja use disorder states that chronic use results in a human devoid of reinforcement and reward, a human de-socialized, lacking in motivation, social skills and the wherewithal to conform with hegemonic norms, mores and values. Ganja use then contributes significantly to the erosion of the social order and the generation of deviance and criminality making ganja users criminogenic, bringing us right back to the white supremacist discourse of the freed African and ganja in the southern US states. A new definition and concept of addiction is invented to fit into the concept of ganja use disorder which insists that ganja users are in fact addicts. Ganja addiction is then defined as psychological dependence which is as broad as it is wide granting huge swaths of space for the state to intervene into the daily life of ganja users as taking their children from them and making them wards of the state. The sick irony of this process is revealed when you study the protocols for intervention into cocaine, meth, opioid intervention and the ganja intervention protocol. Since there is no addiction of the brain with ganja, the intervention is in fact is not an intervention but an attempt at social control, of state power applied to a deviant as defined by power. The most disturbing development is the willingness of the state even when they have decriminalized small amounts of ganja possession to now target ganja users through their interaction with their children. Using ganja in the presence of their children, being a ganja addict, planting ganja plants in the presence of their children is enough to lose their children to the state, even though they are within the limits of the decriminalization clauses of the law. Decriminalization is an instrument of power which deepens social control over the ganja user especially when they are parents raising their children in a family structure.

A publication of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the US federal government titled: “Preventing the Use of Marijuana: Focus on Women and Pregnancy” reveals the inherent contradictions of the discourse of ganja as a dangerous drug. In this case the document is insisting on the risks posed to the unborn child by the pregnant mother using ganja during pregnancy as verified fact, but instances of the discourse of harm to the unborn present copious use of the word “may”. The document states: “Socioeconomic conditions and other risk factors such as those listed below may contribute to the same pregnancy outcomes otherwise attributed to marijuana. As a result, it is difficult to assess how much of an effect is specifically due to marijuana exposure.” (Page 5). In spite of the uncertainty expressed, the document follows with the presentation of “facts,” the prime fact being the birth outcomes of babies born to ganja using mothers during pregnancy. The document states on birth outcomes: “Women who frequently or regularly use marijuana during their pregnancy may be more likely to experience worse birth outcomes, including low birth weight and preterm delivery compared to a pregnant woman who do not use marijuana.” (Page 8). This statement hinged on uncertainty is then enough to intervene into the life of a marijuana using mother and her child by the state taking custody of the child. The document then emphatically states that studies have proven as fact that marijuana use during pregnancy results in low birth weight and preterm birth. Following this statement of fact the document states as follows: “Not all studies, however, have found this association between marijuana use and preterm birth, due to other confounding factors as tobacco or other substance use. This is also likely the result of differing methodologies, including poor quantification of marijuana exposure and a lack of documentation for preterm birth in many studies.” (Page 8). There are then serious methodological issues with the studies that link marijuana use during pregnancy to preterm births, which amounts to junk science, where a discourse of power determines the outcome of the research. This is the underlying reality of all state sponsored and accepted studies on ganja which makes all of them suspect as the discourse of prohibition has shown its unhesitating willingness to insist that myth is fact and intervene in persons lives, changing its nature drastically, based on myth. The issue is power.

The article titled: “Marijuana use during pregnancy and breastfeeding: implications for neonatal and childhood outcomes by Ryan et al is listed in the references of the Samhsa study. In Ryan et al the two systematic reviews and meta-analyses of the research literature that are the foundation of the assault on ganja and its use during pregnancy are presented, but the words of the researchers in both studies are signal lessons in the use of lies to trump fact. On the Gunn et al study, Ryan et al points out: “The authors pointed out, however, that a major limitation of their study was their inability to determine the independent effect of marijuana, given that most of the studies assessed did not exclude individuals with polysubstance use, including tobacco or alcohol, or measure use of those substances. The authors also cited additional limitations, such as how the use of marijuana was identified mainly by self-report, and few of the outcomes were standardized across studies.” (Page 4). The conclusions of this systematic review is then premised on junk science which presented evidence that marijuana posed a risk to the unborn readily accepted and utilized by the discourse of science of ganja prohibition for its political agenda to this day. Junk science used as an instrument of power in the war on ganja. The next study Conner et al is even more revealing as follows: “women who smoked marijuana only were not at risk for preterm delivery, but those who smoked both tobacco and marijuana did experience higher rates of preterm delivery compared with those not using either marijuana or tobacco.” “They concluded that maternal marijuana use during pregnancy was not an independent risk factor for several outcomes, given the confounding effect with factors such as tobacco use.” (Page 4). Conner et al insisted that maternal marijuana use pregnancy was more likely to deliver underweight and still born children, but what is alluded to as fact is rooted in limitations of the study as follows: “but these results were unadjusted, because the authors were limited in their analytic ability to provide adjusted relative risk rates for these outcomes.” (Page 4). In light of this chronic limitation on a meta-analysis why then make such a definitive statement? To advance your career by dancing in the prohibition conga line.

Ryan et al reveals that the position of fact that ganja use by the mother during pregnancy negatively impacts the long term development of the child is based on two studies. Ryan et al states: “Two longitudinal studies have been used to observe cohorts of prenatally exposed individuals from infancy to adolescence and early adulthood, and these provide most of the limited evidence on the long-term advanced neurodevelopmental effects resulting from prenatal exposure to marijuana.” (Page 5). These two studies are: the Ottawa Prenatal Prospective Study (OPPS) and the Maternal Health Practices and Child Development Study (MHPCD) provide the limited evidence now available justifying the removal of children by the state from parents or a parent who expose/s their children to ganja, have used ganja during pregnancy thereby blighting the child with arrested development and give ganja to their children. Both studies were done by prohibitionist institutions funded by prohibitionist money with their findings yet to be replicated by independent research. It is then the mantra of prohibition to write into all child protection laws of all signatories of the treaty prohibiting ganja, the discourse of ganja and the arrested development of fetuses and children exposed to it. Power defines truth not science. The grave lesson then is that what is deemed fact to justify the prohibition of ganja and its use, amounts to the product of highly questionable research, very limited research used as the platform of truth to justify prohibition and as an instrument of power by which to police the population, this is social control. Prohibition refuses to enable all research on ganja with the necessary volume and diversity that has the potential to falsify its discourse of ganja. Ganja prohibition then has something to hide!

Ganja is then a potent, credible pain reducer without the grave risk of addiction as opioids, which is a threat to the multi billion dollar opioid industry of the North Atlantic, until such time that the billionaire oligarchs move into ganja pain relief, when suddenly federal law will change on ganja. Until such time the new line of attack is ganja is causing disease in the human body especially to children and unborn babies. The move now is to classify ganja as a disease with a series of disorders presenting from its use, with an intense predilection to use questionable science which is sensationally repeated uncritically over the North Atlantic media as scientific fact. The US and EU continue to refuse to pump money into research that proves the medical potency of ganja for this erodes their position that ganja has no medical use. Money is coming from ganja entrepreneurs for research, but the regulatory agencies of the North Atlantic all push the prohibition discourse as a result signal research for the benefit of mankind on ganja is starved as the politics of ganja is hegemonic.

Signal research in the following areas are suffering under the domination of prohibition: ganja and the alleviation of PTSD, ganja and its rejuvenating effects on damaged neurons, which will throw light on the position that exposure to ganja in the womb results in arrested neuron development in childrem, ganja and the alleviation of chronic pain without risk of addiction, ganja and seizures, ganja and auto-immune diseases, ganja and interventions into addiction. This is a short list of pressing research issues all being squeezed by the politics of prohibition married to the politics of oligarchic hegemony which worsens the quality of human life on this planet. There is an agenda to suppress as far as possible all research on ganja and the human body through myth, lies and innuendo. Why? The answer lies in the reality that it is a plant available for all of us to grow, reap and partake of, unlike cocaine, heroin, meth, molly etc, it is liberationary!

I wrote this article as someone trained in addictionology and addiction intervention by the New England Addiction Technology Transfer Center and Brown University, not as an “expert” based on a google search!

Caribbean Basin/Caricom Murder Rates 2019

The Murder Rate of Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) 2019 in Caribbean context

The sum of murders for any year is not the murder rate of a country, that is the murder toll or sum of murders for one year. The murder rate for one year is the number of murders per 100,000 persons of the population of the said country which affords a comparative analysis of countries with varying population sizes. This post is then a listing of the murder rates in 2019 for countries of the Caribbean basin where their murder toll 2019 is stated in current online news stories. The initial group of countries for this post ordered on the highest murder rates in descending order for 2019 is as follows:

per 100,000 persons

Honduras: 46.266

Jamaica: 44.8783

Trinidad and Tobago: 38.1335

US Virgin Islands: 37.6789

Belize: 32.80

St Lucia: 26.8067

The Bahamas: 24.6481

St Vincent and the Grenadines: 21.7019 (January to October 2019).

Venezuela: 21

St Kitts & Nevis: 20.8452

Barbados: 17.0458

Guyana: 14.5638 (January to October 2019).

Grenada: 14.2602

Curacao: 11.875

French Guiana: 10.7849

Puerto Rico: 9.9330

Martinique: 7.749

Dominican Republic: 6.909 (January-September 2019).

Suriname: 5.1680

Antigua & Barbuda: 3.1206

What is now apparent is the existence of apex trafficking countries in the Caribbean basin/Caricom whose 2019 murder rate was below 10 per 100,000, namely: the Dominican Republic, Suriname and Puerto Rico. The structure and order of transnational drug trafficking for these countries will partially explain why such a low murder rate but this must be combined with an analysis of the history of the political economy of these States. Then there is the case of the premier terminal for drug distribution combined with illicit drug production that is showing a decline in the homicide rate reaching 21 per 100,000 in 2019: Venezuela. A clear illustration of the hegemony on the ground of the new order of the MTTOs in Venezuela today, where trafficking across and out of Venezuela to the region has now a clear, discernible order noted for its diversity and iron discipline on the ground illustrated by the haves and the have nots on the supply side of the illicit trades. Venezuela is now in a group of table which consists of St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines and St Lucia. Some impacted by past structures and orders as St Kitts and Nevis by the order of Lil Nut that is now in tatters as the new order brought by the MTTOs and the ECTP. St Lucia by the drug trade to/from Martinique and the changes wrought by the ECTP and the order of the MTTOs creating the hierarchy of the naves and have nots. St Vincent and the Grenadines continue to be impacted by the fallout from the St Lucia/Martinique trade, the frantic search for supply as ganja demand explodes especially in Barbados and T&T and the impact of the ECTP and the order of the MTTOs on the drug market. The Bahamas is potently impacted by intensified drug trafficking and human smuggling to the USA, the increasing demand for ganja in The Bahamas and its export to the US and the drive for hegemony of the new order of the MTTOs. The Bahamas sits in a region of multiple pipelines to the US linking the archipelago to Haiti, the DR, Jamaica and the Turks and Caicos Islands. The salient question remains why transit points in this category have murder rates that way outstrip those of the command and control trafficking centers as the DR and Suriname? St Lucia’s murder rate reflects a reality that is now impacting Martinique seen in its murder rate of 7.749 which was the fourth highest in France and its overseas departments for 2019, setting off the alarm bells. But this murder rate in Martinique is also the product of the new order of the MTTOs as the Suriname command and control center has targeted Martinique, Guadeloupe, French Guiana and St Martin to traffick product into France and the EU. The 30 to 39 per 100,000 group follows with T&T having the highest murder rate in this group but its strategic importance to illicit trafficking in the Caribbean pales in comparison to the US Virgin Islands and Belize, T&T is then boxing way above its weight class in the murder rate hierarchy of the Caribbean. The Us Virgin islands is besieged by drug trafficking and human smuggling using it as an entry point to enter the US mainland via domestic routes. In the US Virgin islands, the right to bear arms exists which feeds into the gun violence but there is also the trafficking of illicit arms from the US mainland and illicit opioids trafficking and ganja from the US. Belize borders Mexico and is now a hot landing zone for drug flights moving product into Mexico via Belizean landing strips. T&T has no such strategic value to illicit trafficking but its murder rate places it at the apex of this category largely the result of the ganja wars where the largest market for ganja nearly solely dependent on imports in the Caribbean exists which experiences constant shortfalls in supply. This T&T reality is now reflected in the escalating murder rate in Barbados with 2019 being its highest rate ever recorded as the ganja wars escalate in Barbados as they are the third largest market for ganja in the Caribbean almost wholly dependent on imports, where demand constantly chases supply. The apex category consists of Honduras and Jamaica but they occupy opposite realities in the illicit trades but share similar histories of political economy but Jamaica presents a unique reality. Jamaica and Honduras are linked via trafficking pipeline that flow both ways as is the case with Costa Rica and Panama. Jamaican transnational crime, Shower, is the premier affiliate of the MTTOs of the Caribbean, operational throughout the Caribbean and the North Atlantic. Jamaican political economy has then produced the most powerful Caribbean transnational organised crime group in the illicit trades of the world and the premier Caribbean affiliate of the MTTOs. An organization built on the production and export of Jamaican premier ganja to the North Atlantic exploiting to their advantage their organic links to the Jamaican political order founded on the garrison constituencies of Jamaican electoral politics in post-colonial Jamaica. Jamaica’s murder rate is the legacy bequeathed to it by the Jamaican political order, its political economy not solely its illicit trades and Jamaica’s strategic value to these trades. T&T’s political economy and the ganja wars not its strategic value to Caribbean illicit trafficking are the prime reasons for the 2019 murder rate that is threatening to enter the realm of Jamaica and Honduras. T&T in 2019 is the third ranked murder capital of the Caribbean basin and Caricom, a position in no way the product of its strategic value to trafficking rather the result of a systematic failure of governance borne out of the politics of race and voter mobilization rooted in a discourse of racist hegemony.