Today’s continuation of the Final Report – Report of the CARICOM Regional Commission on Marijuana”, but first some more statistics from the African Heritage Foundation’s (AHF) online cannabis survey. To date 145 people have taken the survey. If you have not taken it please do.
SURVEY LINK ….
The question asked, ” Do you think Barbados should have a national cannabis industry?’. 143 people answered this question. 72.7% or 104 people said yes, 27 or 18.9% said they were unsure and 8.4% or 12 people said no. When asked how they thought a Barbadian cannabis industry would look like, many said just like the sugar industry. One person said ” With a government repository and testing facility. Registered growers by category. Marketing of certain “grades” for medical use. Preference to be given to persons with past offenses on their record. Non violent gets first preference, persons charges with cultivating gets first preference as a grower and past possession/ intent to supply gets first opportunity to become sellers”. Another person said ” We supply cannabis and products manufactured by us for export as well as local use. Barbadian grade should be branded and sold as a specialty item getting the highest price. 87 people responded to this question. ” What ever frame work is implemented. Our citizens and those with local vested interest should have an input into setting up this framework as to benefit from this economic activity. Transparency in Government contracts to corporations and foreign investor and how these are given should be paramount.” was yet another answer. It would seem for the most part that Barbadians would like to see a cannabis industry, most of the persons answering did not have an idea of how this industry would look like, but were of the opinion if done right, would benefit Barbados greatly.
FINAL REPORT CONTINUED ……..
More importantly, scientific evidence has now disproved, or severely challenges, some of the most popularly held beliefs and perceptions of harm that currently underpin the law, in particular, the gateway theory, addiction and causative factors in relation to psychosis. It also establishes that cannabis is less harmful, or no more harmful than substances that are not prohibited under law like alcohol.
Of the potential adverse effects, the Commission is guided by the conclusive evidence that exists for the negative effect on the adolescent brain and on driving. Consequently, cannabis/marijuana use for children and young persons is not recommended, except in medical treatment, as it may affect memory, learning and attention and may put youth at risk for early onset of psychosis. Driving under the influence is also not recommended.
On balance, after evaluating the scientific data and testimonies from the public, the Commission is of the view that the proven medical benefits of cannabis/ marijuana in several areas outweigh the risks. This finding is consistent with those of numerous other national bodies/ Commissions in the region and globally and that of international bodies, the most influential of which have labelled the current legal regime“redundant” and “obstructionist.” This Report acknowledges the work of these previous studies. The scientific data supports law reform to permit the use of marijuana, but in a controlled regulatory environment. A public health, rights-based, non-prohibitionist approach focused on high‐risk users and practices – similar to the approach favoured with alcohol and tobacco – allows for more control over the risk factors associated with cannabis‐related harms than the current, ineffective prohibition, which heightens health risks and induces social harms.
The Report acknowledges that it may be necessary to invest resources in treating cannabis/ marijuana as a
public health issue, at least in the short-term, notwithstanding general expectations to public health. It
should be noted that the Commission’s Economics Study illustrates that significant earnings may be realized
from averted enforcement costs, sales, licensing requirements for production, taxes and other revenue for
a law reform model that is strictly regulated by the state. Funding costs may therefore be offset by these
The Commission accepts the evidence that the original classification of cannabis in law as a dangerous drug with no value was made without the benefit of scientific research and data. This classification, first in international treaties, was spearheaded by the US and was automatically followed domestically. Documents declassified and released to the public in 2002 illustrate that the US Shafer Commission, in a 1972 Report to the US Congress, itself challenged this classification, finding that marijuana presented little harm and should be decriminalized. Given the key finding that now establishes that cannabis/ marijuana has several beneficial effects, cannabis/marijuana can no longer be accurately classified in law as a “dangerous drug” with “no medicinal or other value”. This finding is significant since the illegal status of the drug was premised on its classification as a dangerous drug.
Please note that you can find parts 1 – 3 of the “Final Report” in last weeks articles. Please help the AHF in its quest to educate more Barbadians about the research done by the CARICOM Regional Commission on Marijuana and its findings by sharing this article with friends and family. Everyone should know!
African Heritage Foundation.