JAMAICA: It’s true– this is not some one-off survey conducted by amateurs. This research was completed by Dr. Melanie Creagan Dreher PhD, RN FAAN whom served as the dean for four prestigious nursing schools, received a Bachelors of Science from Long Island University as well as a Masters and Doctorate in Anthropology from Columbia University and Teachers College.
Dr. Dreher’s study, Schoolchildren and Ganja: Youthful Marijuana Consumption in Rural Jamaica, was published in the Anthropology and Education Quarterly in 1983 and was a groundbreaking cross-cultural study that aimed to answer questions on the cultural influence of varying degrees of substance use. Here we will look at cannabis culture in Jamaica, Dr. Dreher’s study and methods, as well as her conclusions.
Despite its illegality, cannabis is widely used across the country. It is estimated conservatively that 75 to 90 percent of the working class population of Jamaica has had experience with the consumption of cannabis in some form. Dr. Dreher found the culture around cannabis use in Jamaica to be vehemently different from that of America’s—specifically regarding both the tradition and incorporation of ganja into families.