This is a quick postscript to my earlier blog with the Medical Association of Jamaica’s (MAJ) press release. I had a response from a Negril hotelier that I wanted to share with you. I do hope the MAJ and the Ministry of Health will look into this as soon as possible, before major problems result.
I’m not sure if this is happening in other tourist resorts, but there is a concern among small hoteliers in Negril about confectionery being sold by vendors on the beach. Tourists relaxing in the sun are being asked to taste these yummy cakes and cookies. They are told that the snacks will make them “feel all right.” Some of them (especially older visitors) don’t realise that they are eating ganja cookies, and they taste nice. As a result of eating food containing ganja, some guests have fallen ill some time later, and this is becoming more frequent. Just this morning, I am told, an eighteen year-old girl had to be rushed to the doctor this morning with severe vomiting.
Hotelier Sophie Grizzle Roumel told me:
One doctor [in Negril] has mentioned on numerous occasions how many patients she has had to deal with this issue. She also mentioned that her other colleagues have been discussing this issue too. I have urged them to write to Minister Tufton. Two nights ago one of my guests collapsed at dinner and when the ambulance came they were told she had eaten ganja cake.
The problem is that no one is too sure of the potency of each product and everyone reacts differently too. Often people are advised to just take a nibble, but often it tastes good and the effect is not immediate so they over indulge, it’s a serious area that needs to be looked into as it could adversely affect the industry and I believe someone with an underlying illness could die from this.
Ms. Grizzle Roumel is not the only hotelier who is worried about this growing problem. I urge Health Minister Christopher Tufton and Tourism Minister Ed Bartlett to investigate this matter as quickly as possible. Of course this is a concern not only for our tourists but for Jamaicans in general who may not be aware of the dangers.