Cultivating Cannabis Colonialism in Barbados.

The inference that the impending Barbados Medical Cannabis Industry is being fashioned in the model of the old sugar plantocracy, seems uncomprehendable to the minister of Agriculture Indar Weir.

Minister Weir (head in phone) was accused of disrespecting the people who attended the recently held town hall meeting on the emerging cannabis industry that was hosted by the Barbados Cannabis Licensing Authority. 

Members of the Rastafari community, including myself are of the opinion that we have been slighted in the whole roll out of the Barbados Medical Cannabis Industry. We are also of the opinion that the stench of colonialism and slavery surrounds this new Barbados Medical Cannabis Industry, and thus it is being paralleled to the old sugar plantation.


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At the recently concluded town hall meeting that was focused on the management structure of the Barbados Cannabis Licensing Authority, an introduction to their board members, regulations, fees and answering queries from the public; the matter of the sugar plantrocracy (slavery/colonialism”) and its parallel to how the Barbados government is structuring this industry was brought to light by the Minister Indar Weir. Minister Weir tried to brush the notion that such a parallel as mentioned previously existed by saying that his government had no intention of shipping out cannabis in its raw form as was done in the sugar industry.


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I also attended that meeting and explained the parallel to the minister, who still seems unable to grasp what I, my community and many other Barbadians have been trying to tell him.

Slavery, colonialism, sugar plantrocracy and neo-colonialism are all founded in economic and forced exploited labour. To achieve this, Africans taken from their homeland were saddled with brutish physical, psychological and cultural restraints (shackles). One such restraint (shackle) was the making of African cultural practices illegal. Another was to make African centered spiritual practices illegal. The fact that Minister Weir and his party could conceive of using a plant that they themselves deemed illegal for any type of use 5 years ago, for profitable gain, while keeping the plant itself illegal for use in its natural form by all Barbadians, stinks to colonialism and sugar plantocracy. Minister Weir and his party refuse for some unknown/known reason to acknowledge the traditional medicinal use of cannabis. In reality this means I can go and purchase cannabis oil, or maybe even packaged teas, while it remains illegal for me to have a couple cannabis plants in my yard so I can make my own tea.


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The sugar plantation as recorded in our history books ignored basic humanity and morality. The fact that the Rastafari community have been the advocates for the medical use of the cannabis plant from in the late 1920’s, have defied those who said it did not, continued to use the plant, and made it available for others at the risk of their freedom and very lives, and now not given any special consideration within the framework of their medical cannabis industry, can be seen in no other light than as immoral and lacking of basic human decency.


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It cannot be over looked that Barbados’ mission to break into European markets, to sell medical cannabis is narrated by the colonial eye, that refuses to allow the colonized mind to create and establish in the best interest of its own. If Minister Weir and his government were not so HELL bound on doing cannabis business with their former colonizers, they would be having public forums on creating sustainable cannabis markets in the region and in Africa. Bajan cannabis should be producing Bajan cannabis pharmaceuticals to be marketed in the region and the African continent. These are ready markets that can generate massive streams of income for this little island.


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Further to this, since smoking and vaping will be acceptable vehicles of administering cannabis treatments, hence the establishment of facilities to accommodate such, the traditional and customary applications of smoking and vaping for preventative medicinal purposes by Barbadians should not be kept illegal.


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Minister Weir is seeming putting the traditional medicinal use of Cannabis in the category of recreation. This misunderstanding of the differences between medical, sacramental and recreational use seem to be something Minister Weir and his party is struggling with. The fact that the government has promised to hold a referendum on the recreational use of cannabis, seems to be their trump card in not addressing the plants other uses. I had to educate the Attorney General of Barbados on the difference between the sacramental use of cannabis and its recreational use. Now I have to educate the Minister of Agriculture on the difference between traditional medicinal use and recreational use.


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It is a fact, that should the Minister of Agriculture and his party acknowledge the right for Barbadians to have access to all plants for their medicinal properties, including cannabis, a referendum for recreational use would not be needed.

I close by offering a correction for Minister Weir who at the said town hall meeting stated, that Rases could cultivate cannabis at their homes for the sacramental uses under the new sacrament act. I presently have a legal matter in the law courts, where I am trying to prove to the government of Barbados that my home, the Rastafari home, must be considered a place of worship, and as such I/we should be allowed to cultivate at home for such purposes. The government has hired three lawyers including two Queens Councils to prove my home is not a place of worship.


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Rastafari is indigenous to the Caribbean and is African centered. Based on the fact that their spiritual practices, customary medicinal practices, economic position, family displacements and disadvantaged youth can largely be attributed to cannabis prohibition by law, and are comfortably ignored by Minister Weir and his party, therein giving little thought to moral and humane redress through special consideration within their Medial Cannabis Industry, we can easily draw a conclusive parallel to the essence of the old sugar plantation.

Paul Rock – Ras Simba



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