Leader of the fledgling Barbados Integrity Movement (BIM) Neil Holder is promising to decriminalize marijuana if his party wins the next general election, constitutionally due next year.
During an interview with Barbados TODAY, Holder expressed concern that too many young people were being incarcerated for having “a spliff or two”, and that both families and Government were paying dearly as a result of the jailing of men in particular.
“We have scenarios today where the girlfriends, wives or better halves find themselves in a situation where there is no breadwinner. The girlfriends are then forced to go to the Welfare Department to be maintained,” Holder said, while estimating that it costs Government approximately $2,600 a month to maintain every prisoner.
Holder also pointed out that more developed countries, including Jamaica, had already seen the wisdom of decriminalizing marijuana and were using it to their economic advantage.
He also pointed out that many countries were taking advantage of the medicinal benefits of the drug, which remains illegal here.
“Certainly we can go in that direction. I do not see any objection to doing that in Barbados. We should be able to turn what is now taboo into something useful for our society,” Holder said, adding that “most of these people who are being incarcerated are young people who do not understand the value of their lives and reputations”.
The recently announced political grouping, which is yet to roll out its slate of candidates, said it was in the process of putting together its manifesto which will spell out its position on other issues currently before the country.