March 22, 2023

Cannabis reform is spreading across the Caribbean

barbados-flag-702x336BY JON HILTZ ON From Marijuana

As if the Caribbean couldn’t get any better, it’s now a hotbed of marijuana reform.

Jamaica finally decided to put a ring on it and allow for citizens and tourists to carry up to 2 ounces. The Cayman Islands are legalizing a bill as we speak for cannabis oil to treat cancer. Antigua is debating an allowance of 5 grams for personal use, and Costa Rica is expected to enact a full medical marijuana program sometime in the near future.

Now Barbados is joining the green chorus and singing the praises of cannabis throughout the islands. The Senior Medical Officer on the island, Dr. Kenneth George, revealed the news last week at a conference on the rational use of Opioids. “The Ministry of Health is currently gathering the evidence with respect to marijuana, used in well-defined clinical situations that will include assisting persons in pain management for cancers and chronic degenerative diseases.”

Barbados Today reported that the debate on cannabis reform started heating up on the island after Jamaica made the official decision to repeal their prohibition on cannabis in 2015.

Barbados Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite, has gone on record many times and said he is not for or against legalization; he wants the “right decision” made for Barbadians. Another top government official on the island who is clearly leaning towards reform is the country’s Minister of Education Ronald Jones. “I agree with decriminalizing [the use of small amounts]of ganja. I don’t think that we should flood our prisons, really, for someone who is not selling and all of that, but has a small spliff.” The Minister made the remarks during an event at a teachers training college.

Peter Wickham is the Director of the Caribbean Development Research Services (CADRES) on Barbados. CADRES is a political research and polling company that works with several political parties throughout the Caribbean. Wickham said that he was contracted by the Barbados Attorney General to poll public opinion on the possible decriminalization of marijuana. The poll was part of a larger study being conducted by the National Task Force on Crime Prevention.

The study found that almost 50% of the population had tried marijuana and one in four people smoke it regularly. Of those polled, 30% believed that cannabis should be legalized for medical and religious purposes.

For now, marijuana reform is a part of the conversation, but considering that this would have never been a discussion ten years ago, talk is in fact progress. Barbados is beginning to melt their version of prohibition like an ice cube in a sun-drenched mojito, no doubt more island paradises will follow.

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