Complaining that killers are treated better than marijuana offenders under the local judicial system, a well-known attorney-at-law Friday appealed to the authorities to ease the legal restrictions on weed.
During a panel discussion Friday afternoon on the legalization of marijuana at the Barbados Bar Association’s Law Conference, Andrew Pilgrim, QC, argued that while it was acceptable in Barbados for persons caught trafficking as little as 100 pounds of marijuana to get up to 25 years in jail, invariably, those accused of murder got their charges reduced to manslaughter and wind up serving between seven and 15 years.
“But you miss and get hold with some weed, understand that you are exposed from 15 to 25 years,” Pilgrim said, pointing out that the majority of inmates serving long sentences were convicted of marijuana trafficking.
Pilgrim also pointed out that as recently as last month, several people were hauled before the law courts for having a single spliff in their possession.
“Why is weed the worst thing in the world?” he asked, while suggesting that the worst offence in Barbados is to be caught selling or trafficking in weed.
“It is the worst thing that you can do,” the respected criminal attorney emphasized.
Pilgrim also highlighted the disparity in treatment of marijuana offenders versus those found guilty of reckless driving which results in loss of life.
“Magistrates are locking up people with a spliff and because they feel bad to sentence them to time, what they do is say, ‘I going lock you up to think about what to do with you’.
“Now there got to be something wrong with that. However, our Court of Appeal, in giving directions as to how to deal with persons charged with dangerous driving causing death, indicate that they are not given prison sentences,” he said.
“The truth is that the majority of them [convicted drink drivers] will get, in a worst case scenario, suspension of their licence for two years.
“I am talking about the fellas that were overtaking five vehicles and hit a cyclist who riding with lights on the front and back.
“These fellas go home and take the windscreen out of the car and put in a new one . . . . They are getting suspension of their licence for two years,” Pilgrim said.
While pleading ignorance of the medical and social ramifications that would result from the legalization of marijuana, Pilgrim called for a review of the local regulations and an easing of the approach to dealing with the illegal drug.
He warned that the cost of policing ganja was becoming an anvil around the state’s neck, while suggesting that marijuana offences should be treated as a medical problem, rather than a criminal issue.