The head of the Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners (BAMP) Dr. Abdon DaSilva has warned Government to be on the lookout for ‘cannabis edibles’ that could harm children once the distribution of medicinal cannabis kicks into gear.
Dr. DaSilva said it was well documented that in some states in the US where medicinal cannabis was legal there had been a “tremendous increase” in emergency cases of children who had accidentally used marijuana.
“As a word of caution to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, I think it should pay particular attention to the development of the industry where it relates to edibles,” the medical doctor told the Joint Select Committee on the Medicinal Cannabis Bill at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
In a brief presentation to the hearing, Dr. DaSilva said: “The food scientists already are now working to provide things such that we can now go to the movies and get marijuana-based popcorn.
“Canadians are now talking about marijuana-based beer and Coca Cola I think has jumped in on the industry.
“We have marijuana-based gummy bears, we have marijuana-based ice cream which is called the Krondike bars, so marketing now has sleight of hand in the food industry and we have to be particularly concerned about that.”
Dr DaSilva maintained that whether Barbadians were willing or not to embrace the medicinal cannabis industry “it was here to stay”.
But he queried whether the industry was being managed by the Ministry of Agriculture rather than the Ministry of Health.
He said: “In the Act, it speaks to the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, and with all due respect, I’m wondering if it is to be assumed that the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security now has the responsibility.
“Am I to interpret this as an attempt to divorce the profession from the Ministry of Health and marry it to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security?”
Dr. DaSilva said while BAMP was aware of the various treaties, the doctors’ concern primarily surrounded the fact that a number of regulatory functions had to be put in place in terms of collecting data which then had to be passed on to the international organizations. He called for a “marriage” of the two ministries. [email protected]