At least two local artistes are reigniting the call for authorities to decriminalize possession of small quantities of marijuana.
It was during his performance at the 2017 Reggae on the Hill show on Sunday that internationally acclaimed reggae artist Buggy Nhakente called for an end to charges against people found with small amounts of the herb.
The singer, whose given name is Ryan Chase, said the issue deserved more discussion.
“I am suggesting that we should find a way to not have to arrest 15- and 16-year-olds and tarnish their life and reputation just because the little man was trying to smoke a joint,” he said.
Buggy also called for frank discussion on the issue of paedophilia in Barbadian society.
“A lot of us behave like we don’t see it going on. A nuff a we friends and thing we see interfering with the little schoolgirls and don’t tell them nothing. Nuff a we friends, too, we see interfere with the little schoolboys and thing and we don’t tell them nothing,” he lamented.
Supporting the call for the decriminalization of small quantities of marijuana was Ozzie Reid, also known as Leadpipe.
He said the plant, often referred to as ganja or weed, could be considered a medical drug and has been proven to be useful for many purposes, including relaxation.
“It is proven. Nobody ever overdose on marijuana,” he argued.
“Legalize it. Honestly, it would be a better Barbados if it is legalized; I believe so,” Reid added, insisting that people should be allowed to choose if they want to use the substance.
“It is used for recreational purposes and everybody needs a little relaxation time. A lot of people have a lot of stress and stuff on their mind.
“For those who do it and choose to, that is their method. So you can’t argue with a person’s decision and personal lifestyle . . . . Marijuana is illegal but alcohol isn’t and there are so many road fatalities and people under the influence and drinking and driving, and that is a big issue,” he contended.
Jamaican dancehall artiste Carlton Grant, popularly known as Spragga Benz, told Barbados TODAY he was all for people no longer being charged for possession of the drug.
“It is just a plant, just like a mango tree and just like a rose. Leave it alone and it [grows]. Suppose [I] decide to start smoking rose bush, they are going to make rose bush illegal?” he said, adding that the criminalization of the plant was just “another way to charge you so they can have more control over you”.
His island has joined a growing number of countries that have moved to legalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.
But Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite has stressed Barbados will not be going that route simply because other countries were doing so. He said proper supporting information on the effects of marijuana is required before any consideration is given to decriminalizing it.
However, leader of the newly formed Barbados Integrity Movement (BIM) Neil Holder has promised that if his political party wins the next general election, constitutionally due next year, it will take the step.
He expressed concern that too many young people were being incarcerated for having “a spliff or two”, and that families and Government were paying dearly as a result of the jailing of men in particular.