The Rastafarian community here would welcome a special 50th Independence anniversary present from Government.
Nyahbinghi priest Bongo Isaiah has called on the Freundel Stuart administration to decriminalize marijuana next year.
Isaiah, a veteran of the House of Nyahbinghi, told Barbados TODAY that while some international and regional countries had decriminalized the weed, Barbados “is way behind”.
Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite has made it clear that Government had no plans to legalize or decriminalize ganja and opposition remains high among Barbadians.
Isaiah said he was mindful of the opposition but he said such a move would help the country’s economy and reputation.
“We behind time. A lot of money will be made and we will still be locking up people for a little foolish spliff. We got to stop locking up youth for a little foolish bush and thing. Decriminalize it. We too far behind,” Isaiah said.
He lamented that Rastafarians here could not openly use the drug as part of their religious ritual, nor was it allowed for medicinal purposes.
“It is not only for medicinal uses, but we of the Rastafarian faith use it as a sacrament and not for recreation. It could make clothes, shoes, garments, oils and they say that the marijuana plant produces the most oxygen, more than any other plant.
“Tourists leaving Canada and America where marijuana decriminalized to a certain extent and you don’t get hold for a foolish spliff, to come to Barbados where you can get hold. When a man go back you know what the man will tell the rest, ‘don’t go to Barbados you does get lock up for bare foolishness’.”
Amendments to Jamaica’s drug law that partially decriminalize,===d small amounts of pot went into effect in April, two months after parliament approved the changes.
The amendments made possession of up to two ounces of marijuana a petty offence that could result in a fine of approximately US$5 but not in an arrest or a criminal record.
Cultivation of five or fewer plants by
any household is allowed and adult Rastafarians are permitted to use it for sacramental purposes.
Visitors to Jamaica who are prescribed medical marijuana abroad are also now able to pay for health ministry permits authorizing them to legally buy up to two ounces of local ganja for medical or therapeutic purposes during their stay.