The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – For Medical Use Only

Subject to subsection (4), the Minister shall so exercise his

power to make regulations under subsection (1) as to secure

  1. that it is not unlawful under section 5(l) for a practitioner, acting in his capacity as such, to prescribe, administer, manufacture, compound or supply a controlled drug, or for a pharmacist, acting in his capacity as such, to manufacture, compound or supply a controlled drug
  2. that it is not unlawful under section 6(l) for a practitioner or pharmacist to have a controlled drug in his possession for the purpose of acting in his capacity as such- section 12-Drug Abuse (Prevention and Control) Act 1990-14

Almost predictably, Barbados last week announced an intention to approve the use of marijuana as a legitimate treatment for certain prescribed ailments, while reserving its position on the current criminalization of the recreational use of the controlled substance. Even so, the use of medical marijuana here will be rather tightly circumscribed, being susceptible for prescription as a last resort only and, according to the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Kenneth George, the smoking of the substance will form no part of the new therapy.

In the same week, the neighbouring jurisdiction of St. Vincent and the Grenadines announced the roll out of three kindred Bills to be sent to a select committee of that nation’s parliament; namely the Cannabis Cultivation (Amnesty) Bill; the Permitted Use of Cannabis for Religious Purposes Bill and the Medicinal Cannabis Industry Bill.

St Vincent & the Grenadines has sometimes appeared to be a step ahead of Barbados in certain legislative reforms, none more stark than that of the adoption of legislation protecting against unfair dismissals, first enacted in Barbados in 2012 and yet a legislative reality in St Vincent & the Grenadines since 1979!

The subject matters of the recently enacted pieces of legislation should serve as a harbinger of the enormity of the legislative task that faces Barbados if we are to approve the therapeutic use of marijuana as announced. For one, if we are to avoid the patently ironic and foreign exchange depletive importation of the substance, then we are going to have to licence its local cultivation under certain regulated conditions. It should be noted that the cultivation of cannabis is currently an offence in Barbados. According to the local Act-

(1) Subject to any regulations under section 12, it shall not be lawful for a person to cultivate any plant of the genus Cannabis, any coca plant or opium poppy… and

(2) Subject to section 39, it is an offence to cultivate any such plant in contravention of subsection (1).

In this connection, the proposed Vincentian statute envisages initially, the declaration of an amnesty period, whereby a qualifying person as stipulated who, in or before that period, is or was engaged in the criminal cultivation of cannabis shall be entitled to the relief provided –

Notwithstanding any provisions of the Drug (Prevention of Misuse) Act or any other relevant enactment, no criminal proceedings shall be taken against a qualifying person who complies with the provisions of this Act and the conditions of a traditional cultivation licence issued under this Act during the amnesty period.

In order to be treated as a “qualifying person”, the cultivator must register with the to-be established Medical Cannabis Authority by submitting certain prescribed information and surrendering all cannabis in his or her possession to the said Authority. Once the information submitted by the individual is verified by the Authority, it then makes a recommendation to the Minister for the issuance to him or her of a certificate of amnesty in the prescribed form and subject to stipulated conditions, including whether there is the intention on the part of the qualifying person to apply for a Traditional Cultivator’s Licence pursuant to the Medical Cannabis Authority Act. If so, this must be notified in writing to the Authority.

Another item addressed in the slate of Vincentian legislation although scarcely lobbied for in Barbados in recent years is located within the Permitted Use of Cannabis for Religious Purposes Bill. This novel statute is styled

An Act to provide for the decriminalization of the use of cannabis as a sacrament in adherence to a religious practice by such religious bodies as may be prescribed by Order of the Minister, including, but not limited to, the Rastafarian faith, at their place of worship and at an event declared by Order of the Minster to be an exempt event, for the purposes of this Act and for matters and purposes incidental thereto”.

In this Bill, a person who is an adherent of a religious body, including but not limited to the Rastafarian faith, or an organization comprising of (sic) such persons, may cultivate, possess, transport, supply and use cannabis for religious purposes. Immediately, certain questions beg asking. For instance, while it is by now notorious that certain members of the Rastafarian faith use marijuana for sacramental purposes, one may legitimately wonder which other religious bodies do such. The Bill does not supply a direct answer, although in a provision that comes close, in my view, to infringing the separation of Church and State and the concomitant guarantee of freedom of religion, religious faith is defined as “a religious faith designated by the Minister by Order under section 4, as a religious faith for the purposes of this Act”, thus leaving the designation as a matter entirely for the state.

Of necessity, the Bill also proposes the non-applicability of legislation such as the Drugs (Prevention of Misuse) Act, the Drug Trafficking Offences Act, and the Proceeds of Crime Act to render unlawful the cultivation, possession , supply and use of cannabis in accordance with the provisions.

The Act is not entirely a religious adherent’s charter for the use of marijuana however. According to Clause 3 (2)-

For the avoidance of doubt, where there are reasonable grounds to suspect that there is an intention to contravene the provisions of section 6 or 7 or 8 of the Drugs (Prevention of Misuse) Act, subsection (1) shall not restrict the exercise of the discretion of the Director of Public Prosecutions from prosecuting a person for a relevant offence under that Act or any other relevant enactment.

These sections treat the possession and cultivation of marijuana. And it appears, any cannabis used for religious purposes must be homegrown. Clause 7 of the Bill mandates-

No person shall import cannabis into St. Vincent and the Grenadines for religious purposes”.

The content of these two Bills signal that Barbados may have some other matters to consider before settling on a comprehensive legislative machinery for marijuana use. The governing administration has already made it clear that any legalization or decriminalization thereof must be subject to popular affirmation in a referendum. Few would doubt however that the legalization of marijuana for medical use will not lead to a likely upsurge in its recreational use, given the increased availability. Future legislation must therefore address issues such as the public use of marijuana, the circumstances of its cultivation and distribution including especially their location and accessibility to minors, and its link with the control of motor vehicles and other activities. We may still have some way to go.

151 thoughts on “The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – For Medical Use Only

  1. “Mariposa, you are correct once again……. keep the pressure on.”

    Keep their feet to the fire and ignore their screams.

  2. Govt cant even managed the QEH the one govt entity that is responsible for peoples health and govt talking about regulating laws to govern pharmaceutical busineess a busineess that have been shown to be uncontrollable in bigger international markets and countries
    Already big pharmaceutical hands are tied to the cannibis industry and their influence on how the cannibis rules and regulations would be partly design by their standards which are well framed to frustrate small island industry competitors
    If small islands want to do battle with these giants then let them do so at their own peril

  3. @ the Sage Anunnaki

    I again confirm my earlier submission.

    I said that marijuana has great medicinal qualities

    And I said that, notwithstanding the valid point you offered as to the import costs and our lack of money, it should be imported and why did I say that?

    Forgive me for using this curse word.

    I have never cursed you here on BU but Marjpoka said, and de ole man quotes “…Cant see how govt will ever be able to tread on new terriorty in the cannabis industry one that demands greater oversight…”

    I sorry to use that cussword Mariposa but

    The point that the second not so bright person on the blig made IS STARTLINGLY CORRECT.

    we ent got de grey matter to legislate correctly for these matters.

    Rather de ole man should say, even though we do have the grey matter, IT IS NOT RESIDENT IN, NOR RELIED ON BY OUR GOVERNMENTS

  4. @Artax
    my apologies, I cannot consume the entire contents of every thread.
    We are essentially on the same path.
    Hal raises this topic every 6 months (it maybe 9), but seems forgetful as to the conclusions.

    Once you get into the bottom of the barrel products (no pun intended), price is everything. The big players go searching for volume. The really big ones wish to control several of the major brands within each category, this way they can force the competition out by withholding access to key brands a retailer must have, and they own.
    A little known Rum called Ron Carioca, a white rum made in Canada and elsewhere, has displaced Bacardi as the “bar rum” in many places, but is rarely seen on retail shelves. The power today of Diageo. Bar rum or house rum or well rum has a massive volume, usually dictated by price.

  5. @ac
    “Govt wants to grow and produce Marijuana”
    Not at all. They want control and money. Control comes via legislation, money comes via taxation, and if they can operate it, retail sales is a nice money addition.
    They are very happy to have others grow it and process it. In general, “doing” is not something govt’s do well. If they can force others to ‘come to them’, then doing becomes whatever they do. A monopoly against which there is no empirical measure.

  6. @Artax
    “I disagree. The former inept DLP administration had several choices.”

    What about simply putting them out to PUBLIC TENDER? That alone would have saved millions. Then again the concept of a transparent public tender process seems to unfortunately elude much public purchasing.

  7. Northern
    Good luck.As for Govt collecting taxes from corporate barbados that too makes for an early morning belly laugh and gives more reason as to why barbados cannot pay its debt

  8. Speaking of “Tender” did govt place notification in the public domain requesting tenders for the South West Sewer system as it undergoes a reconstructing process
    With all the repacement and sort of rebuilding at the plant equipment
    Havent heard whether the process of tender was applied


    I don’t trust these current ministers and lawmakers to draft legislation to benefit the people either, not when it comes to large money making ventures, they just dont have it, they are too SELF ABSORBED with titles and GREEDY but they can get help from many other countries…if they wish, if they do not work hard turning this new money maker fir the people into a human rights violation of their people as is the norm.

    Just check out the Innotech mess that is rapidly evolving being of the elements of corruption involved, that saga is FAR from over….now it’s he said, he said, she said he said…and missing documents.

  10. “But she should always keep the pressure at the maximum.”

    Definitely, it takes a lot of pressure off us, she just needs to be reeled in sometimes when she veers off left of center.

  11. What pressure Mia does not have what it takes
    The fact that she has a 30- O vote of confidence seems like nothing to her in the that she has not had the gall to release the portfolio of her ministers which she promised she would have done if she got elected and became PM but have kept them under lock and key

    Not withstanding the verbal soundings untheical practices against some of her ministers and she did nothing

  12. Btw is the so so called “bright” ones that got this country in debt
    Maybe it is time that the “not so bright ones ” take over
    Meaning that with all the intelligence set on this island not one of the “bright ones that have been handed the mantel of goverence have been able to have a vision in avoiding barbados from being placed of an economic cliff
    Now what we have the same old bunch who helped in the economic wreck of this country by way of vidoo economics given another chance of doing the same
    The evidence has already been spelled out and put in place for all to see

    • The country is in unmanageable debt because as a collective we have reneged on our civic responsibility to hold officials in the public and private sector accountable. More importantly at the household level we have ignored our responsibility in this process, we have nobody to blame but ourselves.

  13. “Waru if you want to be wrong and strong go ahead.”

    It’s the seemingly little things that trip ya up…yall renewed Bizzy’s SCAM IONICS contact…he once again gets 25 million dollars or more a year for the next 15 years for doing very little or nothing with the water processing…just like the scam contract with the sewage..

    ya mean to tell me government could not buy 104 water tanks for the suffering water scarce communities, have the BWA taxpayers paid employees maintain the tanks…AND crooked Bizzy who is already being paid 25 million dollars a year by taxpayers for doing very little…TREAT THE WATER FOR THE TANKS…..what did they need Innotech for, besides the obvious bribery corruption???

    both governments keep GIVING AWAY the people’s money to CROOKS….in EXCHANGE FOR THEIR CUT.

    ya see…the seemingly little things tend to trip ya up.

  14. Better yet….it is time to TRAIN BWA EMPLOYEES on how to TREAT TANK WATER…HOW TO TREAT and PROCESS SEA WATER …….. it is time to CUT OUT ALL THE CROOKED MIDDLE MEN…stop paying out all these millions of dollars at taxpayers and pensioner’s expense..

    The optics are too ugly and are unsustainable..

    ….ya have a fraudulent corporate sector who KNEW there were people suffering for years for water in various PARISHES ….YEARS…and that includes Hallam Nicholls……. during those years not one of these HEARTLESS BEASTS in the corporate shite environment…NOT ONE…offered these WATER STARVED VILLAGERS one tank…not one…but suddenly they are all pretending to be good corporate citizens and offering tanks because they are well aware they can manipulate the CURRENT ministers in the Mia Borrows government cause they are ALL ENVISIONING NUFFF, NUFF IDB and other LOANS…coming down the pipeline..

  15. David said

    ”’The country is in unmanageable debt because as a collective we have reneged on our civic responsibility to hold officials in the public and private sector accountable. More importantly at the household level we have ignored our responsibility in this process, we have nobody to blame but ourselves.”’

  16. David

    This is a highly imprecise characterization of any perception about reality.

    We would contend that average Bajans had no leading role and can show no benefit from the miasma you have so described.

    The precision is that the majority of Bajans have been utterly misled by a misleadership class, for decades. And until you come to know this to be the case the ultimate calamity cannot be avoided.

  17. Ah gotta repeat this one cause ah KNOW…it threw a big ass MONKEY WRENCH…into the FUTURE PLANS of a lot of corporate

    Mia can show she CARES by allowing those with marijuana prescriptions access to PERMITS to GROW at least 4 PLANTS at a time…to process their OWN MEDICINE…there are many ways to process the plant and ALL CAN BE DONE AT HOME.

    That will ELIMINATE…the threat of shite medicine and pharmaceuticals being added to an extraction by crooks like the above Canadian..

    All this will have to be taken very slowly to get it right..


    Let small farmers and the Rastafarian community grow and sell weed for recreational purposes to locals and TOURISTS.

    Medicinal marijuana requires major investment to be commercially viable for export.

    Jamaica is a few years ahead.

  19. lol…..ah told them don’t let their greed run ahead of them…processing AND extraction is not what they think it is, ah warned them didn’t I, no one listens to me but that is just fine, more entertainment I get..

  20. If barbados ” intends” to follow Jamaica lead on Cannabis
    Can we expect like Jamaica govt barbados govt to give premission to everhousehold to grow five marijuana plants on their property

  21. No person who considers himself free should seek such permissions which ‘freemen’ naturally possess to cultivate gifts from the Great Mother.

  22. The mistake many lawyers in Barbados made, the ones NOT INVOLVED in the corrupt practices and stealing from clients, destroying the supreme court and people’s cases….THEY SHOULD NOT HAVE REMAINED SILENT…when they saw their fraternity brothers and sisters committing wholesale crimes against the people.

    Many of these same lawyers today are UNABLE to fight back against the strength of these demons with their political clout and cliquish lodges…………and they themselves are NOW BEING VICTIMIZED….by their own fellow lawyers, in one way or the next….

    They kept the dirty secrets of their fellow bar association fraternity …but look now, these lawyers CANNOT even take certain matters to court….because they know…it will be tied up for YEARS by the lawyers and judges who run the bribery corruption and all manner of crimes in that Supreme Court.

    So this is the time right here to…EXPOSE THEM ALL…too much is at stake particularly with the new fad …medical marijuana got all of them dizzy…and these lawyers who are being victimized have absolutely nothing to lose, but ya crooked fraternity brothers and sisters now have EVERYTHING TO LOSE…and they SHOULD LOSE EVERYTHING.

  23. WARU

    Those drugs from Canada were obviously sold on the black-
    marker because drugs coming into the United States have to meet FDA standards…
    Listen! You ought to know that you can get a dead body in America if you want it, so what is all the fuss about counterfeit drugs from Canada?? Two years ago the Chinese sold Americans grapes fertilized with human manure …

  24. “so what is all the fuss about counterfeit drugs from Canada?? ”

    Because it produced DEAD BODIES…and it was clearly a legitimate business producing and selling counterfeit drugs.

    Would you purchase medical marijuana from any of them..

  25. WARU

    It is the price we pay for trying to stay alive … recently here in America, the FDA recalled several hypertensive drugs which were found to have cancer causing substances in them, and these drugs were all manufactured by legitimate companies …

  26. WARU

    Even drugs that are properly regulated by the FDA may still be detrimental to you health depend on how your body react to the drug … becaus a drug can produced a: thepeutic effect, adverse effect, side effect …

  27. WARU

    That is why it is important to follow doctor orders when you are taking conventional medication because a mixture of conventional and alternative medication can produced what is called Synergistic and Antagonistic Effects which could end your life quickly…

  28. David 12:10

    That makes it worse. It presumes that the elites grab our collective power and run, until the next time.

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