Barbados and its CARCIOM neighbours are being warned that they will be confronted with a formidable foe if they opt to decriminalise marijuana for medicinal uses.
The issue has been discussed at the CARICOM summit now underway in Antigua.
On Wednesday, CARICOM Secretary General Irwin LaRocque revealed that a regional commission on marijuana would be set up and that it would need at least another year to continue its investigations into the social, economic, health and legal implications pertaining to use of the drug.
But the Director of the National Committee for the Prevention of Alcoholism and Drug Dependency (NCPADD) Victor Roach made it clear that such a move would come with serious consequences.
“Be careful, be very careful, and take your time, there is no rush. Seek buy-in from all the people and I would not go forward unless there were targets that have been set up that we should meet and not have every Caribbean country doing their own thing,” Roach said.
Using the United States as an example, Pastor Roach told Barbados TODAY that marijuana was legal and good for medicinal purposes in some states but illegal in others, a situation he predicts would be replicated in the region.
“You get on a plane and have marijuana. You sit in your seat and the plane takes off and your marijuana becomes illegal in another state and the Caribbean is ripe for that because the maybe a temptation among the brethren and sistren to do their own thing in their own borders and that can complicate things and cause problems. So I would urge extreme caution in what we do,” he added.
He maintained that there were no compelling medical reasons to prescribe marijuana or heroine to sick people, adding that leaders would do well to “tread cautiously” on the issue.
“They will meet a formidable foe on this side because I do not intend to relent on this campaign. We do not need marijuana to be legalised, marijuana is an illegal drug and it should remain that way,” he warned.