Many people were surprised when the Prime Minister of Barbados put her support behind legalizing medical cannabis. Barbados is the latest country to pursue a medical cannabis program – a hot topic that’s up for debate later this month.
Having been introduced to parliament recently, the new bill is to be debated by lawmakers in Barbados in the coming weeks. Dale Marshall, the attorney general of the county, said according to a Nation News report, “We have committed to medicinal cannabis because, as a fella said: ‘You gotta go where the science takes you,’ but there is always going to be some push back.”
That push back has already come in the form of other lawmakers in Barbados who hold a more stringent view when it comes to cannabis and its medicinal benefits. In his capacity as vice-premier of Barbados, Marshall announced the new initiative during a press conference at the Argentinian Embassy in Barbados. The Caribbean country strictly forbids recreational cannabis use on the island.
Much of that has to do with the conservative values held by the 80% Christian majority in the country. With that said, Marshall isn’t overly worried, at least as far as medical cannabis is concerned. “I don’t think that the churches are against medicinal cannabis,” he said.
“The single treaty on narcotics, which is the 1969 United Nations Convention, exempts what would normally be illegal drugs, so long as the purpose is either medical or scientific,” he added. “Our big issue is always going to be the feeling that if you can use marijuana for medicine then you could also use it for recreation and I think that is what the religious community is concerned about.”
The Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, announced in 2018 that she was ready to see her country move in the direction of medical cannabis legalization. Mottley said back in December that Barbados shouldn’t be focusing on exporting cultivated cannabis under the new initiative.
Instead, she feels it should be used to further tourism to the island, “Why would we seek to export when we can package and extract maximum value by having clinics as well as recuperative villages for people who want to deal with a certain aspect of pain management?” she asked rhetorically.
Back in July of this year, Barbados’ Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Indar Weir, told Barbados Today that he was happy about the new bill. “The legislation should be going to Parliament this summer or early September the latest,” he said. We started last year, and I am really happy to know that our industry would be coming on stream very shortly.” Weir also spoke about how advanced Barbados is when it comes to initiating a medical cannabis program.
“If you were to compare Barbados to all of the other jurisdictions in terms of starting up, we are way ahead,” he explained to the publication. “For example, in St Vincent, it took over two years to get them started, and I am happy for my colleague Saboto Caesar, [Minister of Agriculture]. We started off last year as a Government with the planning phase, and we are now ready to take legislation to Parliament this summer,” he said.
At the same time, many serious investors are showing a particular interest in the future of cannabis is Barbados. Some people are showing a keen interest in heavy investment in the medical cannabis program. The other factor is that Barbados has a near-perfect climate when it comes to growing cannabis and that bodes well for the country as a whole. There will be more news about the medical cannabis program in Barbados in the coming weeks, as the country joins a host of others saying goodbye to cannabis prohibition.