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'Let's Lead The Way On Medical Marijuana'

By RICARDO WELLS

Tribune Staff Reporter

rwells@tribunemedia.net

A SENIOR executive at the Public Hospitals Authority and leading pharmacist is urging government and local health officials to set the standard for medical marijuana research in the region.

Dr Marvin Smith, who serves as PHA deputy director and chief pharmacist at the Princess Margaret Hospital, made the recommendation during a presentation at the Rotary Club of West Nassau yesterday.

Dr Smith explained that due to the increase in global research around the production and various uses of marijuana, small developing countries like those in the Caribbean now find themselves in a race to produce and streamline research specific to its region.

He asserted that if explored and managed correctly, the research around medical marijuana in the Caribbean would yield the Bahamas “the whole loaf,” rather than “catching the crumbs” in a viable industry.

“I am not involved in the whole (argument of) whether people should smoke or not recreationally,” he said at Poop Deck West. “I don’t smoke recreationally; I don’t do that with marijuana. It doesn’t make me any difference. I am talking about from a pharmaceutical standpoint.”

Dr Smith also serves as president of Caribbean Association of Pharmacists.

He said that organisation has reviewed and endorsed several studies that have identified the benefits of medical marijuana.

“I think it will be good for us to find out from our own populations because marijuana affects different people differently.”

Dr Smith continued: “For our own population, what is it good for; how can it work; how can it impact some of the healthcare problems and crises that we see and drive the research for the Caribbean through the Bahamas; particularly through the University of the Bahamas.

“I think that is going to be critical for us. And if the science supports good medicinal use, then we approve it. If it doesn’t, then we don’t. That’s my key thing.”

He added: “I represent 38 different countries and territories throughout the Caribbean and throughout Central and South America and we have members as far off as Latvia, and the UK and Canada.

“So from our end as a science advocacy group, for the profession of pharmacy, what we really want to see is responsible information out there.

“My side is science,” he said.

“And so my point and the point of our organisation has always been this, if it can be scientifically proven that these things are good for our population, because different things affect different people in different ways; my Norwegian brothers and sisters are going to be differently impacted than my West Indian brothers and sisters.

“We want to see the research done here on our populations so that we can then provide the best possible information to the people who we have been called to serve; that’s it.”

When asked who would fund research efforts if explored in the Bahamas, Dr Smith said local schemes should mirror pharmaceutical research practices used around the world – insisting that companies wanting to operate in the proposed industry finance all research.

He said the role of the government in such an arrangement would be to enact legislative guidelines for research.

“The same way when a drug company wants to bring a new drug, they pay for their own research,” he noted. “That is what I am talking about in terms of when I say there are zero public funds have to go into this. I don’t think public funds should go into this.”

CARICOM’s Regional Commission on marijuana held its first town hall in the Bahamas last month.

Retired Bishop Simeon Hall, the country’s representative on the commission, at the forum announced that he was now a proponent of medicinal marijuana, gaining a greater appreciation for the benefits of the crop since his appointment to the commission.

Bishop Hall’s presence on the commission unsettled many persons who attended the forum, most of whom assumed that as a religious figure his mind would be set against marijuana legalisation.

Health Minister Dr Duane Sands has said legalising marijuana is not on the government’s radar.

Last year Jamaican scientist Dr Henry Lowe made history when his drug, developed from cannabis to treat acute myeloid leukemia, was granted “orphan-drug” designation by the United States Food and Drug Administration. Dr Lowe’s drug was described as a non-cannabinoid developed from the cannabis plant – marijuana. He now has permission to continue his research. (See Tribune editorial – Man tries to crack marijuana’s secret - Thursday, February 8).

Comments

John 9 months, 2 weeks ago

‘Retired ‘Bishop Hall’s presence on the commission unsettled many persons who attended the forum most of whom assumed that as a religious figure his mind would be set against marijuana legalization. Child Please. Y’all carrying on like the man rolls up a joint in da place and says “let us smoke(puff, puff pass) instead of ‘come let us pray! How else is the church and the religious sector to make informed decisions unless they become informed. Back in the days when Bishop Hall was a young boy and he attended a children’s party his parents didn’t worry too much about him or any other child eating too much cake or candy. Because when they wake up the next morning they would be greeted by the smell of cerasee (bitters) And that would bring up all the excess cake and candy that you ate the night before. And if you didn’t get your appetite back by supper time you had to swallow a few slices of aloes (alvis). That got rid of all the worms you fed with the excess cake and ice cream. Marijuana has been assaulted and ravaged. And if it becomes legal and you need use of it try grow your own. Until then let us pray and tithe faithfully.

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SP 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Here we go again trying to convince ourselves to recreate another wheel. The only thing the Bahamas "lead" in is political stupidity, corruption and doing nothing!

Why on earth are we suggesting more studies when "real" countries have already concluded the benefits of marijuana? There is already enough evidence available.

http://www.businessinsider.com/health...">http://www.businessinsider.com/health...

The Bahamas has already lost “the whole loaf,” and still cannot decide on “catching the crumbs” in this well proven viable industry.

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John 9 months, 2 weeks ago

yes there is room for more studies. Ther are at least 1000, yes ONE THOUsAND different strains of marijuana on the simple scale. Hundreds more if you really want to grade. persons try to grow weed that is more potent, less bulky, less odor, requiring less sunlight to grow,even some that disappears when the cops show up. and of course the more the weed is varied the less medical benefits it may have. But the set what grow up in Jamaica Blue mountainis is da real culture weed.

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SP 9 months, 2 weeks ago

More studies are also needed for cancer, Alzheimers, leukemia, flu, balding, and the common cold as well!

The point is, we have a choice.

Either move hastily to jump on this rapidly evolving cash cow bandwagon now OR spend the next 3 years debating and waiting for our brilliant Bahamian "researchers" to successfully prove that the global scientific fraternity was wrong in their findings on the merits of marijuana, leading to a worldwide reversal of legalization, medicinal, and recreational use!

Rest assured the window of opportunity to "lead" is already well beyond our reach and in 2 to 3 years there will be very little crumbs left.

I personally do not understand how anyone could remotely question what we should be doing.

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TheMadHatter 9 months, 2 weeks ago

SP is correct. We will sit around and pontificate until the plantation is built out in west Kendal, Miami and the whole question is moot.

It is againt International Law & U.N. Regulations for the Bahamas to lead in anything except highly affordable babbits.

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Porcupine 9 months, 2 weeks ago

I have to admit the picture above made my mouth water.

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sheeprunner12 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Take the coke out of Coke and replace it with dope .............. At least 70% of Bahamians already smoke herb ........... And we are the sickest country in the Western Hemisphere ........ Go figger

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happyfly 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Sure would give BAMSI an economically viable opportunity instead of pretending we are going to feed this country by hacking away at rocky, infertile soil, one sorry field at a time

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SP 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Good point! Marijuana flourishes here with just novice growers. BAMSI could become an economically viable operation with-in a 24 month period and we could still maintain our goal of feeding ourselves!

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quietone 9 months, 2 weeks ago

A couple months ago there was a long program about the use of marijuana on the internet... how it is able to heal/cure just about any disease... the program was titled, The Sacred Plant. I still receive portions of this program. It has quite a large number of alternative medicine people positively discussing this topic, and I tend to believe there is much truth to the use of this plant for healing our bodies.

I haven't read much of the info, but I am almost certain that it is not recommended to SMOKE this plant. And I doubt our Bible recommends any plants to be smoked as well. Seems that if marijuana is half as good/effective as they proclaim it is for healing, it could eventually cause many medical doctors to be out of a job..

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hrysippus 9 months, 2 weeks ago

If we lead the way with this medical marijuana, .. .. ... ... Will it end up being part of our indigenous local fauna? . .. ...
Will it be growing by the roadside and sprouting in our yard,? .. .. . Plants proliferating from, the seeds that we discard, . .. ........ It might attract the tourists,, who come to see the scenery, . .. ....... Of roads lined up with Sativa, in banks of greenery, . .. .... . An enterprising fella could take a bud or two,. . .. ... .. And bake some tasty brownies that these visitors could chew, . . .. Nothing wrong with using it for legitimate medical ends, ....... .. ...... But don't forget it's so much fun, getting high with friends... ... ..... . ........................................

How long should we give this post? .. .. ... ..... I give it a day, or two at the most.

. ....

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sheeprunner12 9 months, 2 weeks ago

fauna is about animals ......... flora is about plants ........ smt

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hrysippus 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Thank you, you are erudite nut I couldn't resist the rhyme, it is not an easy word for that.

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Porcupine 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Since I read it, resting in my mind............ I tend to believe, it's with me for all time. The Tribune will park the story, that's a given....... Refuse to toke, you the one missin.... The alcohol brings fighting galore.... The herb assures peace for sure.

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DDK 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Everybody's gonna get stoned!

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