Yesterday, 9/15/2020, the Governor General of Barbados announced in her Throne Speech that cannabis will be decriminalized for its possession and use in small amounts.
14 grams the equivalent of a 1/2 ounce, will be a ticket-able offence, instead of being one that you can be arrested for and jailed.
Persons caught with 14 grams or less can be given a $200 ticket that has to paid in 30 days. Being fully aware that the Throne Speech is not law and related legislation has to be drafted to support this move to “decriminalize”, what has been presented to the people of Barbados as it relates to cannabis “decriminalization”, leaves much to be desired.
Barbadians have taken to social media in their droves, and as I read the numerous post related to yesterday’s announcement, with the comments that followed, one word stood out, “CONFUSION”.
Cannabis Barbados while not being confused or even surprised by the absurdity of the governments intended plan to decriminalize small amounts of cannabis, finds it offensive and insulting. The justification for these intended actions only add insult to injury.
That the cost of policing and prosecuting persons for possession and use of small amounts of cannabis is not economically viable, was a justification used. Thus in a shrewd economic adjustment program, almost 90% of the cost of a cannabis offence is now paid by the offender. Now, for the cost of a ticket, the government can make $200 from small quantities of cannabis that can cost from $2.50 to $600. Added to this, for the cost of $200 you will not have a conviction against your name, which in many ways can hinder development and empowerment for the convicted (the one silver lining in this dark cloud of cannabis confusion). No mention was made of any intention to expunge criminal records held by persons previously convicted of a soon to be ticket-able offence.
Barbados’ government, despite tons of research and evidence given on the health and social impact of cannabis in a society, that dispel the propaganda that cannabis is a dangerous drug and should be treated as such, treats it as such. It is with this in mind that Barbadians will still be penalized for something that should not even be an offence to start with. How is it that 100% of dangerous drug research has located alcohol as a more dangerous substance than cannabis, yet it is socially accepted and carries no legal penalties for adult use, but you want to give us a fine?
Cannabis Barbados encourages Barbadians to speak up on the issue and let the government know, we will not be paying any $200 for 14 grams or less. The offices of the Prime Minister and Attorney General should be flooded with letters of total dissatisfaction, and disgust over the framework of the intended move to “decriminalize’ cannabis. Likewise media houses should also be sent copies of the letters directed to the aforementioned parties. Cannabis Barbados will consider the formulation of a petition, that when complete, will be delivered to the government demanding that they rethink its structure of cannabis “decriminalization”. All protest action against this unconscionable suggestion for cannabis decriminalization legislation by the Prime Minister, (who wrote the Throne Speech that was read by the Governor General) , should be met with a blatant refusal to pay the $200 ticket by all Barbadians found guilty of the related offence. If the Government will not listen to the people, then the people must act in collective resistance against its continued cannabis tyranny.
It will be interesting to see if decriminalization for cultivation of small amounts of cannabis will be included in the supporting legislation for this nonsense. If it does contain such a clause, unlike possession and use, it may not carry a $200 fine and a ticket. Should the government fail to address cultivation, as it crafts legislation for “cannabis decriminalization”, it will empower the illegal cannabis trade and those who control it. The question then is, if I am allowed/ not allowed 14 grams of cannabis, where do I get it from? BLP – Building Ludicrous Policies – Creating Confusion!
Another question this “cannabis decriminalization” plan presents is whether or not a police officer is qualified to determine if someone has a cannabis addiction problem, Please note that aforementioned studies have dispelled the unfounded myth of cannabis addiction. Most of these police drink more alcohol than someone can smoke cannabis, and are to be given duties to evaluate me for substance abuse and addiction? Don’t make me laugh. Wait! Will police officers now be armed with a scale to weigh small amounts of cannabis, to certify it is under 14 grams before issuing the ticket?
The government’s biggest mistake was to promise the people a referendum on an issue that should have been decided on by the facts and merits of the matter at hand. Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Mottley has taken on the character of Pontius Pilate, who knowing the innocence of the Christ, left his fate to be decided by misinformed and ignorant people. The cannabis people of Barbados represent the Christ in this scenario. We all know how that ended. Prime Minister Mottley needs to tell the people of Barbados that she made a boo boo when she promised to hold a referendum on the legalization of cannabis for recreational or rather adult use. It sounded good on a campaign trail, where promises and assurances rang out like bullets in a wild wild west shootout, directed to a Bajan public that was, and is for the most part still cannabis ignorant. However what is right, and what is just, needs application, not a vote.
Cannabis Barbados reiterates that in the present Barbadian cannabis climates, the traditional use of the plant for medicinal purposes is still being ignored, while its pharmaceutical potentials are being exploited at the expense of the people. Now we have to add $200 fines to overall cannabis costs, that the people of Barbados must pay, which are detrimental to the holistic development, and empowerment of the Barbadian society.
You are reminded that the government of Barbados will face one of its citizens and his legal representation on November 5th 2020, as they challenge the office of the Attorney General in a constitutional motion that will address the right to adult use of cannabis, locating the Rastafari home as a place of worship and addressing violations caused by unlawful limitations placed on the Rastafari community in the Sacrament Cannabis Act. It is a shame that in 2020 a Barbadian citizen is left no option, but to appeal to the courts of law, to attain recognition and respect for his human and constitutional rights. What kind of government allows this?
The Barbadian Prime Minister’s political promising and supporting theatrics on the issue of cannabis legalization or reasonable decriminalization, will not sway an informed people. Thus it is the duty of each reader to share this article, and position themselves in a manner that they may be kept informed of government and civil society cannabis activities surrounding cannabis legalization or decriminalization.
We will not pay your extortion fees while you trample on our human and constitution rights. Join us in Cannabis Barbados and help us organize ourselves as we engage our cannabis oppressors. As they plan for us, we must plan for them.
How can you get involved?
Like the Cannabis Barbados Facebook Page … https://www.facebook.com/cnbs.bb
Whatsapp 260-4795 and request to be added to the Cannabis Barbados chat.
Email Cannabis Barbados at email@example.com and request to be added to out email listing.
Join Cannabis Barbados and assist in the planning of Cannabis activism and advocacy for legalization or reasonable decriminalization at the very least.
Last but not least, support Cannabis Barbados by purchasing one of its shirts. Proceeds will be used to further cannabis activism and advocacy for legalization or reasonable decriminalization.
This article will be continued as much more must be said about Mia Mottley’s plan to “decriminalize” cannabis in Barbados.
Thank you for reading.