A final report of Parliament’s Joint Select Committee on regulating the medical cannabis industry has ended its work on shaping a new bill to go before lawmakers, Minister of Health and Wellness Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic said Tuesday.
He told fellow parliamentarians: “This particular bill, with the changes that the committee would have recommended, this provides the regulatory framework for the medicinal cannabis industry in Barbados.”
Lt Col Bostic praised the 12-member committee, which was established to examine the draft legislation by listening to recommendations from the various organisations and individuals.
The Health Minister, who was the committee’s vice-chairman told the House of Assembly that after weeks of work a final report had been prepared.
He said: “We were able to have five meetings of the Joint Select Committee and a wide cross section of Barbadians and organizations, particularly stakeholders, participated fully in the deliberations and discussions of the Joint Select Committee.
“We sought to include and to embrace as many groups and persons as we possibly could given the time that we were given.”
The Barbados Pharmaceutical Society, the Barbados Pharmacy Council, the Barbados Medical Council, the Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners, the church, members of the Islamic community, the African Heritage Foundation, the Council for the Disabled and the Barbados Bar Association made presentations to the lawmaking group.
Lt Col Bostic said their contributions helped to shape the new draft and showed a democratic society in action.
“That represented democracy in its truest form where we engaged the public recognizing that not all of the solutions, not all of the knowledge, not all of the ideas resided within the confines of this particular chamber and that Barbadians had a say and a stake in what we were doing,” he told the House.
The Minister of Health acknowledged that both he and his ministry had issues with some aspects of the bill, suggesting that it lacked clarity.
But having spent many hours with the drafters of the bill those issues had been resolved, he said.
Even with these amendments, he declared that there would still be those who would still have difficulties with the draft legislation, while insisting that the changes had been “carefully thought out”.
The Health Minister said: “We had deliberations that were far and wide and the truth is there is no way at all that you’re going to be able to please everyone, that you’re going to be able to please every community and even on the committee itself there were differences of opinion in relation to various aspects of the bill.