There are an estimated 30,000 regular ganja users in Saint Lucia, according to figures released by the Director of the Caribbean Drug & Alcohol Research Institute (CDARI), Doctor Marcus Day.
Day told the Times that the figure is based on statistics from a school survey conducted by the Substance Abuse Advisory Secretariat, taking into account the progression of use and then extrapolating for the general population.
“I estimate about 30,000 regular cannabis users in Saint Lucia with a 150,000 EC a day contribution to the economy,” he told the Times.
That figure would translate into some 4.5 million dollars a month.
Day cited a study published recently in the journal of the American Medical Association.
“I read this article and the thing that stood out for me is that after 25 years of heavy marijuana use, all they could find was a very small short time memory loss,” the CDARI Director disclosed.
He said executive functions, time management, being able to complete tasks and verbal ability in the ganja users were not found to have been impacted after 25 years of marijuana use.
“You know that that tells me? It says that the definition of medicine is a substance whose therapeutic value exceeds its negative consequences. This is how we judge whether a substance should be a medicine or not.”
“We have a substance here that has just been shown to have no appreciable deficiency and you cannot say the same about aspirin or paracetamol,” Day explained.
As far as he was concerned, the authorities are being very short sighted in not taking advantage of the therapeutic value of cannabis.
The CDARI Director felt that Saint Lucia should go “full tilt” into the cannabis business, whether it be therapeutic or medical marijuana, or allowing people to smoke it for recreation.
“Given this last piece of science that was published just the other day, there is no reason for prohibition anymore based on the study,” Day observed.