Financial consultant Hal Martin has questioned a move by Barbados and its sister Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states to hold off on a decision on whether to decriminalise marijuana, pending the outcome of a regional study.
Martin, who has secured a provisional patent with Dr Christopher Ayo Otiko, a foot and ankle surgeon who practises in the United States, contends there is already enough evidence to support the use of the herb.
“There are no studies needed; the studies are done. Studies from whom? It’s a natural plant; it cannot harm you,” he told Barbados TODAY in reference to the use of marijuana.
Martin further argued that Caribbean leaders needed to fix what he called “a plantation mentality” and to begin thinking for themselves.
“We have to do what is economically beneficial for us,” he stressed, as he pointed out that the drug was legal in some American states and they were already reaping the benefits of its status.
“What they are doing is trying to destroy a product that is indigenous to us and they realise there are tremendous financial benefits to be gained and they are growing it there,” he said.
CARICOM leaders have agreed to the establishment of a regional commission to conduct an in depth inquiry into the social, economic health and legal issues surrounding marijuana.
Speaking to the matter at the end of the last week’s CARICOM summit, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart conceded that the region would not be able to run away from the issue indefinitely.
Martin, who supports the legalisation of the drug, also expressed concern that regional authorities have been “ruining the lives of youngsters and their countries” by incarcerating those caught with a joint.
He applauded moves by Jamaica to decriminalise the drug and he suggested that St Vincent and the Grenadines would follow suit.
Meanwhile, Otiko underscored the medicinal benefits of the cannabis plant and he stressed the region needs to explore its many uses.
“Marijuana has been known to eliminate the side effects of nausea due to cancers, it’s been known to actually cure cancer in some cases, it takes away pain in a lot of cases, it’s a natural product, it’s a natural drug.”
Otiko, who has been introducing TetraStem, a topical ointment which heals a wide range of infections, including diabetic wounds, said he would be using his provisional patent approved by the United States Patent Trade Office to produce a similar product using medical marijuana.
“So now you can apply medical cannabis to the skin and it can penetrate the skin and have the same healing effects. It can treat nausea, it can treat headaches, it can treat a whole bunch of things; it can treat basically anything that medical cannabis can treat,” he said.