The African Heritage Foundation (AHF) is winding down its online cannabis survey. With two weeks left for interested persons to take part in the survey, it has thus far highlighted a number of points that the AHF is of the opinion need to be addressed. This article will focus on one of those points.
What is the sense in ordering professional research done on an issue you face, if when you receive the results /findings with recommendations for implementation towards problem solving, you fail to act on them?
The African Heritage Foundation’s online cannabis survey has thus far resulted in the participation of 134 persons. These 134 people are representative of every parish in Barbados. They also represent a range of religious beliefs with Christians making up the majority of participants. 116 people answered the question, ” Religious or spiritual background “? 61 people taking the survey considered themselves Christians. 14 people taking the survey said they were Rastafari. These were the two largest religious groupings taking the survey to date.
One question on the survey asked ” Are you aware that CARICOM commissioned a task force to investigate cannabis, its use and law in the Caribbean”? 131 people answered this question. 48.9% said yes they were aware that CARICOM commissioned a task force to investigate cannabis. The next question asked, “Are you aware of the findings of the above mentioned task force”? This time 132 people responded. 93.2% said they were not aware of the findings of the task force, while 6.8% which equates to 9 people said they were aware of the findings of the task force.
It is in light of these statistics that the AHF posses the question asked in the second paragraph of this article. The AHF is of the opinion that the government has a moral obligation to make the findings of the task force public. Being fully aware that these findings are available online, it is doubtful that the mas majority of Barbadians are aware of this.
The AHF recommends that:
- A national cannabis website be created to share information on cannabis developments locally, regionally and internationally.
- Government Information Service (GIS) skits that speak to the findings of the task force should be produced and aired regularly.
- All newspapers should publish the findings in a series of articles. Due to the length of the document publishing it in a series of articles would be advisable.
- A public meeting should be held to read out the findings of the task force and to answer questions the public might have.
- Creates a document akin to the “Covenant Of Hope” published to inform the public about the BLP manifesto, to share information on the findings of the task force and share widely.
- Use community centers and NGO’s that are willing to assist with the distribution of the above mentioned document.
It is the opinion of the AHF, that the above mentioned document in point#5 be manifested before any referendum be held on the legalization of cannabis for recreational use.
The AHF will do its part in sharing the task force’s results as it takes its own suggestion to publish the “Final Report – Report of the CARICOM Regional Commission on Marijuana” in a series of articles.
Please, if you have not taken the AHF Cannabis Survey, please do so. The information shared with the organization helps it to structure its cannabis advocacy initiatives in the most feasible method.
“Final Report – Report of the CARICOM Regional Commission on Marijuana”
Responding to the increasing calls from the public, NGOs and other stakeholders in the region and amidst the changing global environment, the CARICOM Conference of Heads of Government at its Twenty-Fifth Inter-Sessional Meeting convened in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, 10 -11 March 2014, mandated the establishment of a Commission to interrogate the issue of possible reform to the legal regimes regulating cannabis/ marijuana in CARICOM countries. The Heads were deeply concerned that thousands of young persons throughout the region had suffered incarceration for marijuana use and consumption and many, after their first experiences with the law, resolved to continue with crime as a way of life. Inconsistent applications of the law had led to deep resentment and non-cooperation with law enforcement agencies.
They were mindful too, that for years, Caribbean citizens had promoted the value of marijuana for its medicinal properties. Increasingly, these claims appeared to be confirmed by emerging scientific evidence. There was also a concern that without action, the region could be left behind because of fast-paced global trends toward law reform in terms of cannabis/marijuana. Already, several states in the United States had decriminalized the use of marijuana for medicinal uses. Uruguay, a sister OAS state, had legalized the consumption of marijuana.
To be continued …….