The Barbados Government is still weighing the pros and cons of the legalization of marijuana for medical uses, Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite has revealed.
Brathwaite told a forum on crime and its effects on community-based tourism hosted by the St Philip Parish Independence Committee at the Princess Margaret Secondary School last evening that while the issue has been heating up regionally and internationally research shows that there is not a strong lobby for the substance to be legalized here.
“Believe it or not, based on a study that we had conducted recently even though the information suggest that there is a wider tolerance to use of marijuana it was about 51/49 per cent of the persons canvassed; in other words it isn’t this large lobby for us to immediately go the root of Jamaica and what St Vincent has been signalling,” the Minister of Home Affairs said.
He revealed that while advocates have been pushing for the legalization of the substance they have not done the analysis in terms of the other side of the message.
“Which is whether or not they are encouraging the wider use of marijuana; whether it has any healthcare effects on the community, particularly on young people etcetera; and that’s the analysis that we are still doing.
“We have to do the analysis in terms of whether or not the smoking of marijuana on a frequent basis has any negative healthcare consequences to our young people. I don’t want to enter debate on this issue. We are not going to agree. I as a policymaker I owe it in terms of any policy I could come up with not just to a section of the community but to Barbados as a whole.”
He also made reference to a an article published in Barbados TODAY about the existence of a sophisticated hydroponics laboratory in a Christ Church community producing high grade marijuana.
Prominent criminal lawyer Arthur Holder made the revelation last month at a meeting of the St Michael Central constituency branch of the opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP).
However, Brathwaite said there was no truth to that claim, nor was there any truth that police were targeting the “little fella when it comes to marijuana.”
“I saw in the media recently an attorney-at-law suggesting that the police force are focusing on the little fella when it comes to marijuana but not focusing on persons that is growing it . . . etcetera, etcetera. That is also untrue. In fact there is only one case I think last year when two persons where arrested somewhere in Christ Church so it is really untrue and uncharitable to suggest that the police are only after the little fella and not those wherever they are ,” he said. (FW)