A nurse is appealing to Barbadians to support the proposed Medicinal Cannabis Bill 2019 as research has shown the drug is proven to cure several ailments.
Michelle Marshall, who is also a social activist, said while she did not use the illegal drug, its healing powers could not be ignored.
Marshall attended yesterday’s hearing of the bill by the Joint Select Committee of Parliament at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
The social activist told Barbados TODAY it made no sense to have persons suffering when there was a cure available to treat their illness.
She maintained there were numerous reliable studies done by international agencies detailing the medicinal strength of cannabis.
“Research from Israel would have suggested that little children who are having like 10 to 15 seizures a day can have a reduction to no seizures per day. Persons with cerebral palsy who have spasticity, or those with Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis, there are just so many diseases including chronic non-communicable diseases that can be addressed by rectifying the endocannabinoid system,” she argued.
“If it were you and you needed help what would you do? Just put yourself in the person’s position [and] do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I don’t need it but I just like to help people. If someone wanted help I would help them. I don’t have to wait until I need cannabis because I am vomiting, or I need cannabis because I am in pain. I know of persons who need it now so I am speaking on their behalf,” Marshall insisted.
She lauded Government for its decision to introduce the bill.
However, Marshall said she did not believe there was a need for Barbados to model its medicinal cannabis industry after that of other countries.
“I do think it is a very progressive move on the part of our Government, even though we are like 20 years behind in the industry, but the ministry has taken the initiative to kind of retrospectively get where we should be.
“So we’re in the process now – and I say we because as a concerned citizen- I think it is our conversation, so we are now in the process of getting to the fine tuning of medical cannabis in terms of definitions and in terms of how we can have greater integration of those unfortunately who were in the industry before and were marginalized because of the illegality of it,” Marshall said.
“I think what has happened in California . . . I don’t think we need to model those places. I think we are persons who are very, very academic and many of us have gone to university and beyond…we can create innovative strategies from the best practices, so we can use the literature that came from Israel and the US and create our own model where we benefit all the citizens.”
She said the only disappointment she had with the Bill was the neglect of nurses in the conversation.
“Unfortunately for me here as a representative of nursing, I think that nurses have not really been included in terms of part of the persons involved in the general conversation and that makes me feel the need to come forward and advocate for nurses’ inclusion in this whole advocacy of cannabis education,” Marshall admitted.