The National Anti-Doping Commission of Barbados (NADC) is throwing its full weight behind a proposal by the Mia Mottley-led administration to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes.
However, Commission Chairman Dr Adrian Lorde made it clear that NADC was not in support decriminalization of the illegal drug for recreational purposes.
In its 2018 manifesto, the Barbados Labour Party (BLP), which swept all 30 seats at stake in the May 24 general election, pledged to allow medicinal marijuana to be available to those who need it.
The party also promised to hold a referendum on the decriminalization of recreational marijuana “to stop locking up people for spliffs and expedite the process for the expungement of criminal records for persons with convictions for simple possession”.
However, Dr Lorde pointed out that “there is a difference between medical marijuana and smoking marijuana.
“Medical marijuana deals mainly with, not the THC, which is the active component in marijuana smoke. It is the CBD – cannabidiol – which has been shown to have benefits in certain conditions like epilepsy, headaches, nausea from cancer therapy and so on,” he said in defence of marijuana legalization for health purposes.
“So I would support medical marijuana being regularized in Barbados, but I am not supporting the use of marijuana recreationally,” the prominent medical practitioner stressed.
Dr Lorde, whose anti-doping organization was established by the Barbados Olympic Association (BOA) and Barbados Government back in March 2000, also cautioned that medical marijuana use would have to be strictly regulated by the Barbados Drug Service and the Medical Pharmacy Council and a licencing regime implemented for the drug to be dispensed by prescription only.
“So we would have to have training of the medical persons, pharmacies and the pharmaceutical industry so that it can be properly regulated and dispensed,” said the general medical practitioner, a strong advocate against drug cheats in sports.
In further support of medical marijuana use, Dr Lorde told Barbados TODAY while the drug remains on the banned list for athletes, “the synthetic marijuana, which is the CBD, is allowed to be utilized by athletes for medical purposes.
“We abide by the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibitive list. We haven’t had any cases in Barbados. But where persons think they need to use marijuana for medicinal purposes, they can seek permission from the commission, explain why they need to use it and it can be utilized when medically indicated,” he revealed.
Only last week, Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Indar Weir said Government intended to develop an industry here from the growing of ganja and other plants.
“I must share with you my Government’s intention to make provision for the production of marijuana and other plans for medical purposes,” Weir said then in his feature address at the annual accountability seminar organized by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture, and held in the Ministry of Agriculture conference room at Graeme Hall, Christ Church.
“Indeed, more and more countries are passing laws providing for the use of marijuana as a medicine to treat a range of medical complaints, including headaches, muscle spasm, nausea from cancer chemotherapy, poor appetite and nerve pain,” he noted at the time, adding that authorities would monitor the drug to discourage rampant misuse, as it remained illegal in some countries.
However, he noted that there were such economic benefits to be derived from weed, that it was an agenda item at the current Caribbean Community (CARICOM) meeting in Jamaica which was due to receive a report from the regional commission on marijuana.