ATTORNEY SAYS PEOPLE WITH DRUG CONVICTIONS SHOULD NOT BE BLOCKED FROM MEDICINAL CANNABIS LICENCES
By Jenique Belgrave
An attorney-at-law has contended that the section of the Medicinal Cannabis Industry Act which prevents anyone who has a drug-related conviction from getting a licence to legally participate in the industry should be repealed.
Although stopping short of saying he intended to lead any such action, Rasheed Belgrave told Barbados TODAY that people should not be hampered from building the medicinal cannabis industry because of an “infringement”.
According to Section 32, Subsection 3 of the Medicinal Cannabis Industry Act 2019, a person who has been convicted of an indictable offence under the Drug Abuse (Prevention and Control) Act, the Proceeds and Instrumentalities of Crimes Act, or any other similar enactment creating offences for illegal drugs and for the proceeds gained from such illegal drugs in Barbados or any other country shall not be eligible for a licence to conduct any business pertaining to the medicinal cannabis industry.
But speaking to Barbados TODAY on Wednesday, Belgrave presented the case that some of those individuals were already skilled in growing the plant and should be allowed in.
Contending that their exclusion was “not fair”, Belgrave said: “Basically, you are saying that the people who have the skills and the knowledge in the industry are precluded from participating. So what this is trying to tell me is if the police report me today for speeding, that means I can’t drive tomorrow or for the rest of my life in Barbados…? And, really and truly, the industry is not going anywhere because the people who are in the industry really do not know much about it or are there just for the financial gain.”
He had initially raised the matter during Sunday evening’s Democratic Labour Party joint zonal branch meeting at Deighton Griffith Secondary School where he insisted that the industry would grow much faster if those small farmers already experienced in the process were granted access.
“The persons who would have been caught or went before the law [courts] with these charges of possession or trafficking of marijuana would have been persons with the track record and experience in the industry. So, tell me how you free up an industry and do not involve the experts? Help me understand,” the attorney said.
He added that the application, licensing and administrative fees associated with getting involved in the medicinal cannabis industry were restrictive, with interested parties having to shell out over $50 000.
Belgrave said this would be a hindrance to Barbados developing a thriving medicinal cannabis industry.
“This is a barrier to the average man,” he insisted.