The Archdiocese is hosting a virtual Symposium June 5 on the theme Marijuana and cannabinoids: Health, research, and regulatory considerations, to discuss the potential negative effects of marijuana and cannabinoids.
Archbishop Jason Gordon will deliver the opening prayer and speak on ‘The Catholic Church’s position on marijuana and cannabinoids’. Other topics to be explored by speakers include: ‘The Road to Decriminalisation of the Dangerous Drug Marijuana in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago’, ‘Marijuana and risk-taking behaviours: What society needs to know’ and ‘Cannabis use and depression in young adults’.
Leela Ramdeen, chair of the Catholic Commission for Social Justice (CCSJ) and head of the committee organising the forum, said it targets persons of all ages.
“The recent legislation [amendments to the Dangerous Drugs Act] enables all adults to smoke a certain amount of cannabis and cannabis resin. However, people need to raise their awareness of the potential harm that can be caused from smoking cannabis”.
Of particular concern is the need for awareness among school-aged children about the dangers of exposure.
Ramdeen shared the experience of a family friend whose son was studying at a Catholic school in London. The grade A student began smoking cannabis, and one night at a ‘rave’ jumped off a high stage thinking he could fly. No-one caught him which resulted in his being crippled. He now has mental illness and violent episodes.
Ramdeen said the symposium aims to raise awareness about the legal, medical, and psycho-social dimensions related to smoking cannabis and cannabinoids; share information; encourage those in the medical field and government/state agency level to develop new and improved strategies to prevent drug use and its consequences.
It aims to encourage persons in the medical field to develop new and improved treatments to assist persons with substance abuse disorders; stimulate a commitment by researchers to conduct research that will inform the ‘debate’.
The Catholic News asked Ramdeen about behaviour change since marijuana has been part of the society for many years and persons continue to be charged despite amendments to the law.
She said, “On its own, legislation is not going to lead to a change in behaviour in persons who use marijuana. One must consider the biological, environmental, behavioural and social causes related to its use”.
The CCSJ is inviting the public to register for the symposium by calling Leela Ramdeen 299-8945, emailing email@example.com.