Substance Abuse-Fighting Agency in Barbados Supports Legalization of Marijuana – But for Medical Use Only

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Monday October 14, 2019 – The National Council on Substance Abuse (NCSA) is supporting government’s initiative to legalize and create a platform for the issue and handling of licenses for medicinal cannabis and its regulating regime.

But, says chairman Hadford Howell, the agency is still advocating against substance abuse or misuse.

“There is a difference between medical marijuana and recreational marijuana. Medical marijuana will help persons who may be suffering from all sorts of diseases,” he said.

“…We are happy for it to come into being once it is martialed, controlled and there are certain rules and conditions…put in place. Once they are in place, [then] fine. The point is there is a difference in medical marijuana and recreational marijuana,” Howell added, noting the NCSA had submitted a paper to the Minister of Home Affairs on October 17, 2018, expressing its concerns about the matter.

Minister of Home Affairs Edmund Hinkson, and Manager of the NCSA, Betty Hunte.

Minister of Home Affairs Edmund Hinkson said that legalizing marijuana for medical purposes is what a large segment of the public has been calling for, for years, particularly persons who are ill or have disabilities, “and we can’t go against that tide”.

“We can’t allow the conservatism and sometimes fear and uncertainty to venture into innovative enterprises or initiatives, which constrain some Barbadians, to prevent us moving on in terms of what would be in the best interest of our people,” he contended.

Hinkson said full discussions by a Joint Select Committee of Parliament had wrapped up with tremendous input given from the public orally and in writing, including from the NCSA.

“We want to thank the public and organizations for that input which has helped fashioned amendments to the Bill which would be laid very shortly in Parliament as the debate continues,” the Minister said.

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