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September 2021

Reefer madness Caribbean style

Journal/Book: J Drug Issues. 2000; 30: Florida State Univ School Criminology Criminal Justice, PO Box 66696, Tallahassee, FL 32313-6696, USA. J Drug Issues Inc. 465-497.

Abstract: ''Reefer madness,'' a spurious psychiatric affliction that was widely promulgated in the United States during the 1930s, is rarely mentioned today as a possible sequela of acute cannabis consumption Because reefer madness (RM) was questioned and generally dismissed in the West by the 1940s, I was surprised to find that it was still widely accepted as a genuine psycho-pharmacological affliction in the Eastern Caribbean country of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the 1990s. This paper describes and analyzes the reasons for this discontinuity between the West and the Rest by referring to the multiplicity of factors supporting the Vincentian RM syndrome: a generalized tropical ''intellectual backwardness'' and associated moral apathy; the real and alleged behavioral-psychological effects of acute cannabis ingestion, the peculiarly Caribbean character of Vincentian RM and the way it differs from its American counterpart; the types of people promoting the affliction, the larger anti-marijuana context that includes opposition to any involvement with the substance; and, most importantly, the national system of racial and class stratification.

Note: Article Rubenstein H, Univ Manitoba, Dept Anthropol, Winnipeg, MB, CANADA


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