The Barbados Pharmaceutical Society (BPS) is calling on government not to leave it out of plans to introduce medical marijuana to the country.
Stating that he supports medical marijuana, BPS president Derek Catlyn however suggested today that Government should first decriminalize the drug.
“We know that medical marijuana is coming on stream cause we keep seeing it in the media. So I hope that everything would be in place in terms of pharmacists being more involved when it comes to that and not just from a doctor’s perspective,” Catlyn told Barbados TODAY.
He complained that the Pharmaceutical Society had no information whatsoever about use of the drug or whether Government will start with its own pharmacies as providers.
“We don’t really have any information. I don’t know if private pharmacies will be involved as well, or first [if] the Government is going to be targeting, in terms of the public sector, like polyclinics and so on, and later on the private sector. But if they feel pharmacists will need sensitizing and educating regarding it, I don’t see it as being a problem,” Catlyn said.
The BPS head argued that the Government should be more proactive in providing all the relevant information to the industry and not just releasing it in the Press.
“I believe all the necessary stakeholders got to be involved and let us see what is really happening,” he added.
Catlyn is of the view that some people have interpreted the marijuana issue the wrong way by mixing up its medicinal use and recreational purpose.
“They’ve got to understand that . . . the way how I interpret it . . . you could be treating it like how you have narcotic medication [where] anybody can just come into the pharmacy and get it just like that. It has to be in a restricted area; you doing checks and balances when it comes to it; you got to ensure that patients aren’t abusing it,” the spokesman for pharmacists said.
But the health care professional noted that while recreational marijuana may come into force later, “I think first they can look at decriminalization instead of wasting taxpayers’ money sending up somebody for having a personal amount of marijuana on themselves.”
He suggested that once all the mechanisms are in place, he does not see a problem with its introduction.
In June this year, Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Indar Weir revealed that the 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 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 said.
Weir said the authorities would monitor the drug to discourage rampant misuse, as it remained illegal in some countries.