Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite has said he holds no strong position on the legalization of marijuana use, but he believes Barbadians should not be jailed for possession of small amounts of the drug.
Brathwaite stated his position this morning in an address to launch activities marking Drug Awareness Month at the Church of the Nazarene, Bank Hall.
“I am neither for nor against. I want us to make the right decision for our people,” he told the congregation, which included members of the National Council on Substance Abuse (NCSA).
“We need to look at the public health consequences in every action that we take. We cannot give in to the noises.”
Brathwaite also made reference to one individual who was recently remanded to prison after appearing in the Magistrate’s Court for possession of a small amount of marijuana.
“We [Government], and certainly as Minister, I have sent the signal that we would rather not incarcerate individuals for having small quantities of marijuana.
“What we would like to do is to put them into the Drug Treatment Court programme and see how we can divert them from the abuse of substances.”
The Barbados Drug Treatment Court opened last year, and Brathwaite said that the first batch of offenders who were sent there for treatment will be graduating this month.
Further addressing the issue of marijuana legalisation, the AG noted that while tobacco smoking and alcohol drinking have been legal practices for a long time, “that does not deny the fact that both those legal substances are causing problems in the society”.
“So do you accept that because you have some legal substances, and that you should automatically say let us free up another one to cause additional problems in society, or do you look too see what is best for us as a country, and chart a path in that direction?” Brathwaite asked.