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November 12, 1982

Working Men and Ganja: Marihuana Use in Rural Jamaica

JAMA. 1982;248(18):2346. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330180092050

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This volume reports on the use of ganja (marijuana) in three laborerfarmer villages in Jamaica. Although illegal, the practice of smoking ganja, usually with tobacco, is widespread, particularly among the lower socioeconomic group members. Ganja cultivation, distribution, sale, and use comprise an integrated activity in these rural areas.

Ganja "breaks" are customary during harvest time, and productivity, if not enhanced, is at least no worse than among nonsmokers. The author believes that ganja serves a culturalsocial function, encouraging cooperation and friendships, reducing potential violence, and fostering group cohesiveness.

Fortunately, the author does not attempt to transpose the customs and values of rural Jamaica into North American metropolitan areas. She does not believe that any conclusions arrived at in a study of poor Jamaicans can be indiscriminately applied to other cultures and settings. It is reasonable to believe that repetitious, boring labor like ditch digging or sugar cane cutting can be