Referendum Promised on Full Decriminalization of Cannabis

On March 05, 2021 the lower house of parliament debated an amendment to the drug abuse prevention act that would remove the possession of 14 grammes of cannabis from the list of offences for which one can be charged, instead a ticketing system would be used.

The government is moving as promised in the direction of liberalising Barbados cannabis laws, following decriminalisation for medicinal and sacramental purposes last year. Government emphasized during the debate full decriminalisation will have to be subject to a referendum as stated in its manifesto.

Drug Abuse (Prevention and Control) Amendment Bill 2020 – Debate 1

Drug Abuse (Prevention and Control) Amendment Bill 2020 – Debate 2

Marijuana Laws and Legal Banditry

MARIJUANA LAWS AND THE LEGAL BANDITRY that maintains The Old Slavery Status Quo of White Wealth and Black Poverty.

The Old Slavery Status Quo of White Wealth and Black Poverty long after Emancipation. Their purpose? to keep Rastas and the majority of the Black population ECONOMICALLY DESTITUTE, so that they would be forced to keep on begging for jobs

Read on –

Cry For Blood


Submitted by Grenville Phillips II, Leader of Solutions Barbados

After World War 2, most people in developed countries smoked cigarettes.  Doctors were irresponsibly promoting this harmful practise, because they smoked.  Offices, entertainment venues and aeroplanes were designed for smokers only.

Despite the mounting evidence that smoking caused lung cancer, nothing was done by policy makers to restrict the use of cigarettes.  However, the evidence could not be ignored forever.

In 1964, the US Surgeon General finally reported that smoking was harmful to smokers.  This led to warning labels being required on cigarette packaging.  In 1969, the US banned cigarette ads on TV and radio.

While the US government was trying to save smokers from themselves, there was no relief for non-smokers until 1971.  That was when airline stewardesses’ complaints resulted in no-smoking sections of some planes.

When booking flights in the 1980s, I would hope that there was space in the limited no-smoking section.  However, I was normally forced to travel in the smoking section, and tolerate the toxic second-hand smoke.

In the 1990s the link between second-hand smoke and lung cancer could no longer be ignored, so there were restrictions for smoking in government buildings.  By the 2000s, these restrictions were upgraded to bans, including on many international flights.

The World Health Organisation finally recognised that tobacco smoke caused death, disease and disability in smokers.  It also accepted that pregnant mothers, who were exposed to tobacco smoke, could cause health and development problems for their children.  So the UN was forced to act.

In 2003, the UN’s World Health Assembly adopted an international treaty, to protect all persons on this planet, including the unborn, from exposure to tobacco smoke.  Barbados signed that treaty in 2004 and ratified it 2005.

Barbados agreed to implement policies to protect all people from tobacco smoke in indoor spaces and other public spaces.  The long battle had been won, but the price was very high.  Approximately half of smokers died from smoking related diseases.


Last week, we decided that our youth must not only learn history from their textbooks.  Instead, we would do a NIFCA play re-enacting some of the worse parts of our history.  We decided to show them how a past set of policy makers, deceived a generation of unsuspecting people, that smoking was not harmful.

The problem is that our policy makers forgot that they were only supposed to be playing the lunatic.   Our parliamentarians seemed to have lost control of their minds.  There was no debate in Parliament, only lawyers trying to present weak closing arguments to themselves.

They passed a bill allowing any group that calls itself Rasta, to receive a permit to grow and smoke marijuana.  They have decided that there will be no checking of who is or is not a Rasta when issuing the permits.  They justified this position by claiming that the Government does not investigate who is or is not a pastor before registering churches.

The lunacy of this argument is glaring.  Pastors are not registering to do anything illegal.  However, the bill allows Rastas to legally do something that is illegal for the rest of us.

To declare that no investigations will be done, means that any group of Barbadians can legally grow and smoke marijuana.  They just have to call themselves a Rastafarian group and get a permit.

This makes the political promise of a referendum before legalising marijuana a farce.  If the Governor General is so controllable, that she would act against the interest of Barbados by proclaiming this into law, then there will be no need for a referendum – the recreational use of marijuana would already be legal.

It is proven that marijuana smoke has the same or higher concentrations of poisons, and that smoke is not healthy for anyone’s lungs or heart, including Rastas.  It does not magically become healthy just because a set of politicians say that it is.

It took about 80 years of struggle, with millions of unnecessary and horrible deaths, before policy makers would act.  Policy makers deemed their lives expendable, as each death was simply added to the rest until the number was statistically important enough to report a strong link.

Now we must now start all over again, just because policy makers want proof that marijuana smoke is more dangerous than tobacco smoke.  We have learnt nothing from the millions who have died from tobacco smoke.  Despite the fact that smoking cigarettes is still the leading cause of preventable death in the US, we are not convinced.

We want to count deaths from marijuana smokers.  Not any marijuana smokers, Barbadian marijuana smokers.  We have now deemed the lives of our Rasta citizens expendable.  We are not trying to protect them from themselves, as we should have done for the smokers of cigarettes.  Instead, we are encouraging them to smoke, deceiving them that it is not harmful – when we know full well that it is.

The obvious solution is to allow users to dilute marijuana to safe concentrations, and drink it as we drink tea.  That does not introduce smoke in the users lungs, and does not harm the health of the users’ neighbours.  The problem with that simple approach is that it does not satisfy the cry for blood.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and President of Solutions Barbados.  He can be reached at


Submitted by Ras Jahaziel

THE CRIMINALIZATION OF MARIJUANA must be placed within the context of the European history of invading, persecuting, and eradicating indigenous peoples and their cultures.

It should be noted also that utilizing the services of TRAINED NEGROES to persecute and brutalize their own people is commonplace in the history of colonialism.

Read the story of AMARANTH, a grain that can now be found at any Whole Foods market.

Who is making the profit today?


Foods of the Americas: Amaranth, the Outlaw Grain

Chola Con Cello
Nov 19, 2017 · 6 min read

Huaútli — banned by the Spanish Empire and the Catholic Church since 1519

Huaútli is the Aztec name for a plant so important to the people, it was banned by the invading Spanish Empire led by Hernán Cortez and the Catholic Church in 1519.

Today huaútli is most commonly known as amaranth, a super-food gaining worldwide recognition as a high-protein plant edible that could easily figure into the solution for world hunger. Although not considered a grain, the tiny amaranth seeds contain eight to nine grams of protein in a one cup serving, offering a nutritionally complete plant food that has all the essential amino acids needed by the human body, without gluten.

Pre-columbian cultivation of huaútli (amaranth)

Together with corn, beans and chia, amaranth was a key part of the near-perfect core diet of Mesoamerican Indian civilizations, and a tribute item demanded by the Aztecs. But the invading conquerors prohibited its cultivation and consumption calling it an ungodly pagan food, something full of sin. So for hundreds of years under the rule of Spain, amaranth all but disappeared from the face of the earth except in the highlands of Oaxaca and to the south among the Mayan people where its cultivation most probably began some 10,000 years ago.

Cultivating Huaútli

Harvesting Huaútli

Amaranth was a primary crop not only important as food, but central to the spiritual and ritual life of Mesoamerican indigenous civilizations; its precious seeds and leaves were nutritious and therapeutic; it was an offering to the gods as well as the ingredient used by midwives to bathe newborn babies; it was mixed into a paste and transformed into miniature reproductions of the child’s future attributes: a bow, an arrow, the hunter’s instruments; or perhaps a flower or an animal spirit-guide. Amaranth was not only food and medicine for the body it was also valued as a divine plant.

The Midwife or Tlamatlquiticitl attended to the comfort, support, hygiene and spirituality of the mother and the newborn, including the baby’s first bath which contained amaranth- Mendoza Codex,16th century

Prized as a gourmet food, amaranth was traditionally prepared like corn: cooked, popped or ground into a flour masa for tortillas, tamales and atolli (atole), a traditional hot beverage.

Atolli or Atole, a traditional Mexican hot beverage, can be made of amaranth

But more importantly, it was used in religious rituals offered to certain deities, as a dish called tzoali, a delicacy of popped amaranth and sweet magüey blue agave syrup or honey, mixed together and shaped. Today those same tzoali are called alegrías and can be found in bakeries and stores throughout Mexico and in the Southwestern United States, or anywhere Mexican culture and cuisine flourish.

Today tzoali are called ‘alegrías’, meaning joy or happiness

Yet when Spain invaded the Americas, they soon criminalized the cultivation of amaranth, as they did with the quinoa plant in South America. In doing so they banned the cultivation of one the world’s best sources of plant protein. The Spanish Empire imposed the most cruel and uncompromising punishments for growing huaútli, including cutting off the hands of those who dared to plant it.

Cutting off the hands of those who dared to plant it

So why did this beautiful nutritious and mystical plant elicit such a savage response from the invaders? This atrocity was most likely triggered by the importance of amaranth both in the people’s diet and in their spiritual life, a plant rightly held in high esteem.

Chalchiutlicue, Aztec Goddess of Waters and Purifier of Newborn Babies

Upon their arrival, the Catholic priests were horrified to find that amaranth was considered a deity and used in religious ceremonial rituals. It was consumed and mixed, according to some sources, with the blood of people who were sacrificed, and was perhaps a tad too close to the religious ceremonial ritual of the holy Eucharist, the Catholic ritual that consecrates the body and blood of Christ and is also eaten. But the Eucharist is of course not considered savagery by the church. To the contrary, it is considered a blessed sacrament.

Mexica Aztec Warriors ate amaranth

As many scholars have noted, amaranth was an important part of the diet of warriors as well as a sacred plant that came into the cross-hairs of the Church’s war against paganism. So the more likely truth is that the criminalization of amaranth was both a military strategy intended to weaken the Aztec people allowing for an easier conquest. It was also a brutal tactic used by Catholic Church to eliminate any practices or evidence of an indigenous religion.

Mexica Eagle Guild Warriors

Like all warriors, the Mexica Eagle Guild Warriors ate amaranth and were responsible for fighting off and killing about 80% of the Spanish invaders who died in battle, despite their iron swords and their use of horses and dogs as weapons of war. So it was urgent for the Empire and the Church to weaken and crush the masses of people and their warriors by any means necessary.

Despite its near extinction, today’s amaranth, the hardy survivor huaútli, can be found in contemporary cooking from granola to pancakes and is once again taking it’s place as an important plant food in defiance of its illicit past.

Diverse varieties of amaranth were cultivated all the way to the lands of the Inca people in the South American Andes, where it is consumed to this day. High in protein and the essential amino acid, lysine, amaranth found its way to Europe and is even consumed in India where it is known as rajeera, or the king’s grain.

How ironic that this offering of forbidden toasted amaranth seeds, held together by the sweetness of agave nectar and honey, made round in the shape of the sun and the circle of life, should survive to be called alegría, happiness or joy. No blood this time. Plenty of that was spilled by the Spanish invaders.

From Mesoamerica to East of The L.A. River, from street vendors to neighborhood mercados, bakeries and marketas you will find amaranth sold as the popular treat called alegría, the Spanish word for happiness or joy.

María Elena Gaitán (Chola Con Cello) writes about her obsessions, musings and rants from the heart of the universe, East of the Los Angeles River. This is first in a series about the global contribution, politics and cultural impact of Pre-Columbian foods. Thank you for following.

Enlightened Rastafari


Submitted by Grenville Phillips II, Leader of Solutions Barbados

Like many who were teenagers in the 1970s, the Rastafarian idea, promoted through reggae music, was popular. Their claim to follow the teachings of the Bible convinced me that they were not only brothers in humanity, but brothers in faith.

I researched their claims, and was shocked to see “Jah” written in my Bible. During that period of my life, I talked about changing my name from Grenville to I-ville. However, I could not reconcile the idea of Haile Selassie (Ras Tafari) being Christ. So, we diverged on that one, but critical point of faith.

During that time, I used to walk from Combermere School to the QEH after school. My mother worked as a nurse in the paediatrics department, caring for babies. I would sit among the patients waiting for her to finish her work. She would often tell me about the babies of the Rastafarians, who would needlessly suffer because they were fed nuts.

What distressed her was the Rastas’ insistence on feeding their babies nuts, despite the obvious and apparent harm. I think that they have now wised-up, but their current state of enlightenment was no comfort to the babies who suffered unnecessarily, through their stubborn ignorance.

The Rastafarians have made smoking marijuana part of their religious tradition. My primary concern is the safety of their children.

Our lungs are not designed for smoke. That is why we tend to cough it out when exposed. Our bodies are designed to adapt to different environments, even smoke-filled ones. However, we normally pay a health price that may increase with increased exposure to a harmful environment.

Some like to justify unpopular decisions by claiming that we are going where the science takes us. Well, science has proven, beyond doubt, that smoking is very unhealthy for humans. Further, it is extremely harmful to our children.

To have our children exposed to either first-hand or second-hand smoke, is even more irresponsible than feeding babies nuts. It was previously done through pure ignorance. It is now to be done through the irresponsible encouragement of our politicians, whose main goal is a lucrative lifetime pension at the public’s expense.

The decision it legalise marijuana for religious purposes is not a Rastafarian issue, it is one that affects us all. Rastas get to smoke, but the public is burdened with increased taxes to pay for their children’s health costs, and all of the other social costs associated with the abuse of the marijuana plant.

There are two options for addressing this issue. The first is to prostitute for the Rastafarian vote by forcing through poorly thought-out legislation. That seems to be the preferred option for irresponsible politicians.

The second option is to encourage and participate in an honest discussion on achieving a win-win situation, wherever possible. But that will require both sides to be honest.

Some topics that can be put on the table are: Is it mandatory for the marijuana plant to be smoked as part of the ritual – if so, then why? Can it be made into a tea – if not, then why not? Can it be diluted sufficiently so that everyone can drink it without any harmful health effects – if not, then why not?

If our desire is to know the truth, then we should submit claims of truth to honest research. Truth should be able to withstand rigorous scrutiny. I love the Rastafarian community too much to blindly support badly thought out ideas. That they are promoting this as a Rastafarian-only issue means that neither they, not the Attorney General, have properly thought this through.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and President of Solutions Barbados. He can be reached at

The Grenville Phillips Column – Marijuana Denied

I recently attended a conference on medical marijuana, in order to become more informed on the current state of knowledge.  For the past 3 decades, I have found discussing marijuana use to be an emotional subject for some, which rarely ends well if there is disagreement.  Nevertheless, into the octagon I go.

The Bible teaches that God made all living things, and declared them to be good.  The herb has a purpose, regardless of whether we understand that purpose or not.  The Bible teaches that certain plants were created to be our food.  The supporting Biblical passage follows.

“And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.”” (Genesis 1:29)

Research of the marijuana plant has found many health benefits.  Therefore, why is it illegal to have this useful plant?  The simple answer is that good things can be misused.

Our youth need parental guidance, especially during their teenage years when they are going through puberty.  One of the side-effects of puberty is that our teenagers tend not to appreciate the consequences of their actions.

As teenagers get used to their new feelings, they seek excitement.  During this critical stage of their development, it is the responsibility of adults to: guide our youth towards responsible exciting behaviours, restrain them from irresponsible exciting behaviours, and help them avoid harm from responsible but risky exciting behaviours.

The promise of excitement from sex, drugs, and alcohol has proven too much for many youth.  In our attempts to protect them, we have specified a legal age before which our youth cannot consent to sex, or purchase alcoholic beverages or addictive drugs.

Teenagers have gotten around our legal restrictions on drugs and alcohol, by getting irresponsible adults to obtain them.  Where teenagers cannot find an adult to lead them astray, they have misused other products, like the dangerous practise of inhaling fumes of paints, glues and cleaning products.

The hope of all responsible adults is that teenagers will also grow into responsible adults, who will properly guide the next generation of vulnerable teenagers.  Most teenagers make it through puberty, either scathed or unscathed, and become responsible adults.  However, not all transition at the same time.

Adults who become addicted to harmful behaviours, delay their responsibility to positively guide the next generation.  If they delay until they are elderly, then they may be less effective.

There are no legal restrictions on the sale or use of paints, glues or cleaners.  This is because teenagers that used to inhale the fumes of these products, quickly stopped that lunacy when they became adults.  All adults will likely discourage teenagers from that dangerous practise.  The same cannot be said for marijuana.

At the marijuana conference, the doctors generally agreed that smoking marijuana was not recommended.  Unfortunately, many adults have encouraged vulnerable teenagers to follow them in burning the marijuana plant, and then inhaling its smoke.  It is only because of such irresponsible actions by adults, that the benefits of the marijuana plant are not legally available to us.

In their attempts to protect their youth, the US has made possession of the marijuana plant a federal crime.  They are so desperate to protect their youth, that they have threatened to damage the trading capacity of countries that do not also treat it as an illegal substance.  Since we rely on international trade, we have no choice but to follow the US in making it illegal.

We cannot ignore the threat to Barbados’ economy, so we must respect the US’ position.  However, we should not make criminals out of people who use or misuse the plant.  Therefore, Solutions Barbados policy is to treat it as a traffic violation, like speeding, and fine those in the chain of possession.

Growers would be fined based on the value of the herbs they cultivated, distributors would be fined based on the value that they distributed, and consumers would be fined based on the value that they had in their possession.  Therefore, each person in the chain of possession can calculate their likely fines, and decide whether participating in the marijuana trade is worth the risk.

Admittedly, Solutions Barbados’ policy could be misinterpreted as a clever attempt to legalise and tax marijuana through fines, for the purpose of tricking the USA to avoid the threat to Barbados’ economy.  Since any fine under 100% can be reasonably considered a tax, Solutions Barbados proposed a fine of 10 times the street value of the offence to completely remove the idea of a tax from consideration.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and President of Solutions Barbados.  He can be reached at

Another Heather Cole Column – Synthetic Marijuana: Dispensing Poison

It is unacceptable, it is wrong and it is shameful that government has announced that it is adding synthetic marijuana to the Barbados Drug Formulary to be dispensed to the poor people of Barbados.

It has been stuffed down our throats for decades that marijuana was dope, harmful and addictive. I have never heard of not even a single person dying from an over-dose of marijuana and many are still being incarcerated because of it. Government should be leading by example but instead they are not. It is the government that is now imposing addictive and harmful synthetic marijuana which is worse than the natural herb on the people of Barbados.

We are not living in the 1960’s, 1970’s or the 1980’s when drugs where dispensed and the public had no previous knowledge of their side effects. We are living in an age where information on drugs is readily available on the internet. Gone are the days when a doctor prescribed medicine, you took it unaware of the side effects, came down with another ailment, went back to the doctor to be told that it was too strong for your body or; it killed you.

Sativex, Epidiolex, Anabasum, Nabilone and Marinol are all either synthetic or synthetic mixed with cannabis drugs. They are created by scientists in labs. They are not pure or natural. One of the short term side effects of smoking synthetic marijuana is bleeding of the ears, then there is the display of an extreme version of epileptic fits. All of the five above mentioned drugs have negative effects on the brain, heart, liver and kidneys. What is the use of being cured from cancer or another ailment but be left with an expiry date on the major organs of your body?

This is an extreme version of buy now and pay later as these drugs will lead to government investing in more dialysis machines, more on treatment of cases of mental illness, increases in heart failure, liver problems and kidney failure. This is a negative investment. The better alternatives would be to grow and produce safe medicinal products locally or purchase natural drugs.

In light of the current controversy surrounding marijuana, its use for medicinal purposes and its decriminalization, it is nothing but a slap in the face for government to choose not to buy authentic products for sale in Barbados. Is the best not good enough for our people?

What makes it worse is that government intends to grow and export authentic marijuana; yet it has made the most ridiculous decision to import synthetic by-products. This defeats the purpose of growing the herb. The refusal of Government to keep its promise to hold the promised referendum on the decriminalization of marijuana adds to this dis-connect. The intent seems to be clear to prevent the poor black man from making economic gains from this herb while retaining criminalized status on the drug.

In the final analysis, Barbadians must be allowed to grow marijuana and produce on the island by-products that are natural, authentic and safe for medicinal use. Exclusion from the marijuana market is not what Barbadians voted for. All Barbadians must benefit from the production, trade and the production of products from marijuana.

The Ministry of Health must go a step further to inform us why we cannot grow marijuana and produce our own medical products since the imported version is nothing more than poison. How is this decision that placed those synthetic drugs on the formulary managing or promoting health and wellness? What is the date of the promised referendum?

The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – What is a Religion?

A good example of a vague definition is the tendency to define religion as “worldview” — but how can every worldview qualify as a religion? It would be ridiculous to think that every belief system or ideology is even just religious, never mind a full-fledged religion, but that’s the consequence of how some try to use the term. –Austin Cline- “What is Religion” (December 2018)

The title of this piece is not intended to be provocative of debate on the merits or demerits of the various existing religious beliefs. Rather, it is a necessary continuation of the discussion I commenced in my last essay in this space where a judge of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court ruled that the existing laws in St Christopher Nevis that forbade the cultivation and possession of marijuana for the purposes of supply under pain of criminal sanction were unconstitutional in that they infringed the claimant’s guaranteed freedom of conscience (sc. freedom of religion) and his right to privacy.

I also adverted then to the actuality that Barbados guarantees the identical freedoms to people in its Constitution, although, remarkably, neither document expressly defines the word “religion”. Yet, as Ventose J recognized in his judgment, the principal issue to be resolved in that case was whether Rastafari is a religion for the purposes of sections 3 and 11 of the Constitution of Saint Christopher and Nevis…”

And while the judge supplied his own research-

Rastafari is a relatively young religion (sic), which has its roots in Jamaica in the 1930s. This development followed the coronation of Haile Selassie I as King of Ethiopia in 1930. Rastafarians believe Haile Selassie is God and that he will return to Africa members of the black community who are living in exile as the result of colonization and the slave trade. Rastafari theology developed from the ideas of Marcus Garvey, a political activist who wanted to improve the status of fellow black people

and the Claimant supplied his own evidence-

The Claimant in his affidavit filed on 31 July 2017 in support of his application by way of originating motion avers that he is a member of the Tewoladi (Begotten) Sons of David, Church of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I. He also avers that:

(1) cannabis is a sacred herb to the Rastafari religion; (2) the use of cannabis is integral to his religious experience; (3) cannabis is smoked or burnt in a chalice or pipe and the Claimant would smoke cannabis in the form of a spliff as a religious rite when worshipping at gatherings, which occur every Saturday; and (4) he uses cannabis every day when he gives praise. This practice, the Claimant contends, puts him in a spiritual mood and brings him closer to the “Almighty”. The Claimant further contends that the cannabis herb is also used as part of the burning of incense during sacramental orders and functions of the congregation. The Claimant avers that Rastafari is a recognized religion in many Caribbean countries including Saint Christopher and Nevis and that, as a Rastafari, he believes in the Holy Bible and other holy scriptures including the Apocrypha. The Claimant also avers that cannabis is a sacred herb to Rastafarians as it is used in spiritual rites when worshipping and at gatherings. The Claimant states that he uses cannabis each day when he gives “praises” to the “creator” and that cannabis is a natural God given plant and is used to nourish the spiritual values of Rastafarians-

Ultimately, the point at issue was not thoroughly litigated since the Defendants conceded the point, while noting nevertheless that “free access to cannabis, even to a single community, namely, the Rastafarian community, poses several problems for law enforcement in Saint Christopher and Nevis insofar as the Rastafarian community has not been incorporated under any legislation for houses of worship or incorporated entities”.

In addition, the judge accepted the earlier determination of his learned brother, Benjamin J, who had held in Francis v Commissioner of Police and the Attorney General of Antigua and Barbuda in 2001 that, first, Rastafari was indeed a religion within the meaning of the Constitution-

I hold no reservations whatsoever that Rastafari is a religion within the meaning and context of section 11 of the Constitution and I hereby declare that Rastafari is a religion entitled to protection thereunder…”;

and, second, that “the criminalization of marijuana operate[d] to hinder the applicant and followers of Rastafari in the enjoyment of the sacred herb as part of their religious worship, practice and observance”;

even though he was reluctant to hold the law unconstitutional for this reason-

“…Given the state of medical knowledge, the State is\obligated in the interests of public safety and public health to shield the entire society, inclusive of Rastafari from potential, unknown and uncertain dangers in respect of which answers are still being awaited…”

To revert to the critical question of what constitutes a religion in law, it seems clear that in the absence of a stipulated definition, the answer must be found in the common law. Indeed, this is not as simple a task as it might first appear. Scholars seem to disagree in limine of the very etymology of the word itself. For some, it comes from the Latin “religere” which means “to tie” or “to bind together”, a feature of most faiths. Others contend that its origins lie rather in “relegere”, meaning to “re-read”, connoting the ritualistic nature of most religions.

Nor are the traditional definition sources of great assistance. The Oxford Dictionary defines “religion” primarily as the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods. Merriam Webster gives (1)the service and worship of God or the supernatural; and (2)commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance. That there must be some element of the supernatural seems a necessary criterion. The Encyclopedia of Philosophy chooses rather to enumerate the traits of religion.

These include-

  • Belief in supernatural beings;
  • A distinction between sacred and profane objects;
  • Ritual acts focused on sacred objects;
  • A moral code believed to be sanctioned by the gods;
  • Characteristically religious feelings (awe, sense of mystery, sense of guilt, adoration), which tend to be aroused in the presence of sacred objects and during the practice of ritual, and which are connected in idea with the gods;
  • Prayer and other forms of communication with gods;
  • A world view, or a general picture of the world as a whole and the place of the individual therein. This picture contains some specification of an overall purpose or point of the world and an indication of how the individual fits into it;
  • A more or less total organization of one’s life based on the worldview;
  • A social group bound together by the above.

On this basis, contrary to the epigraph, is any world view excluded?

The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – For Medical, Religious and Private Purposes

The decision that the court makes today is not to be taken as undermining the
State’s legitimate interest in the war on illegal and dangerous drugs. The
constitutional issues in this case are narrow ones, and focus only on the use,
possession and cultivation of cannabis by adults for use in the Rastafari religion and
also the use, possession and cultivation of cannabis by adults in private for personal
consumption. They do not touch or concern the issue of trafficking in cannabis,
illegal drugs or other illegal activities.
per Ventose J. in Ras Sankofa Maccabbee v Commissioner of Police and AG of St Christopher and Nevis

The current local governing administration appears none too keen on the radical reform of the marijuana laws. From a purely political viewpoint, this is understandable. Should the experiment go horribly wrong, modern political thought would abhor the notion of being the party responsible for the catastrophe. An identical concept exists with the five hundred pound gorilla of the devaluation of the Barbados dollar. For a political administration to have been associated with this latter phenomenon would most assuredly sound its death knell in local politics. I am persuaded that a similar consequence might attend the reform of the marijuana laws should there be any adverse social fallout as a result.

Hence, so far we have heard tentative official word of a proposal to legalize the substance for medical purposes only and, as I recall it, not to broach the issue of recreational use at all. Subsequently, there has been no further word on the matter, until last week when we heard, not from the Prime Minister or the Attorney General or the Minister of Health or the Minister of Agriculture, but from the Minister with responsibility for Home Affairs, that the issue of decriminalization (sic) will now be decided by the people of Barbados in a referendum.

The Minister does not appear from the press report to specify whether the decriminalization refers to recreational or medical use but, allowing for a construction of his words de bene esse, it may be surmised that he might have been referring to purely recreational use. This is reinforced by his reliance on statistics from the Criminal Justice Research and Planning Unit in its 2015 report that “indicated a strong correlation between early marijuana use and criminal behaviour”. He also described as “worrisome” the correlation between adverse psychiatric reaction and illegal substance abuse, a viewpoint that suggests a no vote, certainly on the Minister’s part, to any referendum on decriminalization of the substance for recreational use.

Any such referendum as proposed will of course be problematic, apart from the entire debate being unfortunately and inevitably perceived as a partisan exercise, given the popular ignorance of what precisely is meant by the concepts of decriminalization and legalization. And then there is the formulation of the question itself, an issue about which there is certain to be some pedantic nit-picking as was the case when, sometime ago, a referendum was proposed on Barbados’s formally “becoming” a republic by having a native Head of State.

Barbados traditional caution in the area of marijuana reform appears to differ, at least slightly, from that of its neighbours, some of whom have already passed or are in the process of decriminalizing some of the existing offences where the substance is consumed for medical or religious purposes or is less than a stipulated amount. Indeed, it can be asserted that the current regional public opinion hews towards the reform of the current marijuana laws, by making exceptions for, as the title states, medical religious and private purposes.

Some individuals are not even prepared to await legislative reform, but are choosing rather to enforce their use of the substance as a fundamental right that is being infringed by the current laws.

One such instance occurred two Fridays ago when in a carefully reasoned judgment, my erstwhile Faculty colleague and now honourable judge of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court based in St Kitts Nevis, Eddy Ventose, ruled that those sections of the anti-drugs law in that jurisdiction including cannabis in the list of controlled drugs and criminalizing the possession and cultivation of cannabis infringed the Claimant’s constitutional right to freedom of conscience and religion under sections 3 and 11 [sections 11 and 19, (Barbados)]of the Constitution to the extent to which it made no exemption for the possession or cultivation of any amount of cannabis by an adult member of the Rastafari religion for religious use by adults in the Rastafari religion.

He also made a declaration that those aspects of the Act referred to above likewise infringed the Claimant’s constitutional right to privacy under sections 3 and 9 [sections 11 and 17 (Barbados )] of the Constitution to the extent to which it made no exemption for possession by an adult in a private place of any amount of cannabis for his or her personal use in private.

More controversially, he also suspended the declarations made for a period of 90 days from the date of the judgment to allow the National Assembly to remedy the constitutional defects set out therein. This is controversial, in my view, in that the separation of powers doctrine makes it clear that legislation is a parliamentary and not a judicial process, so that the tacit suggestion to the Parliament by a judge as to what should be its legislative agenda does appear to smack of judicial overreaching. Against this however, I suppose that it may be argued that the provisions of the Act having been declared unconstitutional by the competent authority, the state having already signaled its intention to reform the law accordingly by the introduction of a draft Bill and on light of the concession made by the Attorney General, there should be no contestation on this issue. As the learned judge observed:

After the draft of this judgment was prepared, I was able to read the provisions of the Cannabis Bill 2019 published by the Saint Christopher and Nevis Information Service website ( Part II of the proposed Cannabis Bill is entitled “Cannabis for Religious Purposes”. It contains 10 sections regulating the use of cannabis for religious purposes.

And further;

I am also mindful that the National Assembly may need additional time to cure the defects in the Drugs Act in respect of the personal use and consumption of cannabis by adults in private. The Attorney General proposed that a period of 90 days should be sufficient to enable the necessary legislation to be amended and passed by the National Assembly.

I propose to attempt an analysis of the judgment in coming essays, but I should wish, first, to thank my learned friend, Philip Nicholls Esq.. for having supplied me with a copy of the judgment and second, to close with a personal recollection of an encounter with the late Mr. Seymour Nurse who shuffled off this mortal coil last week.

It was the evening for net practice on the big field and I was batting. The bowlers kept bowling the ball at my pads and I was on driving with some aplomb, I thought. Afterwards, Mr Nurse who was observing, called me over. “That looked good”, he said. My chest swelled with pride. I could not imagine a loftier compliment. And then, with his keen perceptive eye, he observed, “But you are falling forward when playing the shot. Imagine what it would be like if you kept your balance”. He then showed me how. May he rest in peace.

To be continued…


A Heather Cole Column – The Bargaining Chip


Heather Cole

Slavery was wrong but it was upheld as right by our English colonial masters in the British West Indies and North America to justify its existence for 300 years. They used slavery to create lavish empires off the backs of black slave labor and when slavery became unprofitable, the Europeans ended it without compensation to our forefathers.

Marijuana was good yet the Americans instilled in us that it was a drug. We had known for decades that even before ganga became popular in Barbados, that it was being smoked by persons who lived in Jamaica without negative effects. Yet the American Government was able to persuade every government in the Eastern Caribbean that it was an illegal drug.

Millions of Black people have been incarcerated since the 1970’s for possession, smoking or supplying marijuana. This herb has created a constant supply for the cradle to prison pipeline which uses poor black men in America and makes millions of dollars for those who profit from the free labor of this type of slavery.

This reality has not escaped Barbados where bigshots traffic drugs and guns and there are some neighborhoods engulfed in a cycle of poverty with the same cradle to prison pipeline. We have a system where the police persecutes, and the court prosecutes poor black men all because of marijuana.

Now the coin has flipped as the Americans have changed their minds. Marijuana is no longer bad. Perhaps it was that the prisons have become too overcrowded and not enough persons are out on the streets to smoke to retain certain profit-levels, so someone decided that they needed to get more persons smoking weed. The best way to maintain their profit levels was to decriminalize marijuana or make it available for medicinal purposes. So, the same marijuana that we were told was bad, is now the golden-haired child. Big Pharma has suddenly made and about turn and that which was bad for our health for decades is now being advocated as better than slice bread. Their eyes have been opened to the profits to be reaped off the new “slaves” and create a trillion-dollar industry. The big pharmaceutical giants have smelled the profits. It is all about money as big pharmaceutical companies are only interested in controlling illnesses not finding cures.

We have found ourselves in an unprecedented situation where our bad herb is now acceptable. It has also presented us with our greatest opportunity to make money, but it comes with a challenge to government. The government is advocating the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes only. After careful consideration, one can believe that this is not practical.

One wonders if we will experience ‘growing’ pains. On a 2X4 island where there is an existing ‘problem’, we would have to fortify Barbados to ensure that there are no leakages from the system. Can you imagine the situation if every local plantation started to grow marijuana and had to put up rails, barbwire and electrical fencing? Not only would this add to the production costs, but it would impact the aesthetics of the countryside. How would we know that these local farmers will not sell their surplus on the underground market? Will the police be standing outside these establishments to prevent pilferage? Will we choose to exclude ordinary citizens from entering a legitimate business by growing herb in their back yards? Will there be a license? If so, this can be challenged in court since no other cash crops are being grown by way of license. What if every adult applied for a license? Would the price of a license be prohibitive to prevent some persons from obtaining a license to grow the cash crop?

In terms of use, how can we justify what is a medicinal purpose? Can the average person who has glaucoma grow his own marijuana and treat his illness by smoking his home-grown product? If marijuana can be used to prevent menstrual cramp who is to prevent a person from making a tea infusion with the product?

Why has the government chosen to restrict the use of marijuana to medicinal purposes only? This denies prospective entrepreneurs the opportunity to focus on manufacturing goods which can become a source of exports. If the Rastafarian Brethren presently use it for religious purposes and want to add medicinal purposes, should they have to meet a certain criterion? Government should provide the enabling environment for all sectors and industries to thrive and not choose one over the other.

We already have land available to grow the marijuana, all small farmers need are seeds and they are in abundance next door in St. Vincent and in grade A. There is no need for foreign expertise as there are persons on the island who have up to thirty years’ experience in growing marijuana even under the most restrictive conditions.

Despite the lucrativeness of marijuana, we must remember that it is still an illegal substance in Barbados at least for the poor people. The government has not stated that it will decriminalize marijuana. It has mentioned a referendum for the people to decide. This gives the people the bargaining chip for the introduction of marijuana as a cash crop in Barbados. The government cannot go back on its word and must hasten to bring this referendum to pass. When it is decriminalized, everyone who is presently incarcerated as a result of marijuana must be freed and rehabilitated into society. We can use some of the profits to do this.

We can plan properly using the mistakes that Jamaica made as guidance in our transition.

Marijuana should never have been criminalized. In a Barbados where marijuana is decriminalized, there will be nothing for the drug lords to protect.

At present, marijuana is the slavery of this poor black generation. It has the poor of Barbados in chains. It is a divider in society, and we all know that the rich and the middle class will never go before a magistrate for a spliff.

We must remember that after Emancipation the of 1834 and the Apprenticeship period all the slaves were freed. This ‘new’ emancipation must also be inclusive of all Barbadians. For how can we have an emancipation which excludes the very people who need it most? All must all benefit from marijuana. Why would one wish for some to profit from marijuana while it remains a criminal offence for others?

We cannot invite Canadians or Americans to profit off marijuana and feel comfortable knowing that it is illegal for common use in Barbados. We must be guided by our conscience and we cannot retrogress in the building of a Barbadian society. We cannot perpetrate the ills of a plantation slave society bounded by a new set of Jim Crow Laws; where the new planter class will live lavish life styles akin to those of the sugar barons of a few centuries ago; and the black working class remain downtrodden and incarcerated for smoking a spliff.

We the people have the bargaining chip and a decision to make. In order to make that decision, we all must raise our voices for the referendum on decriminalizing marijuana which is inclusive of the benefits that we expect to derive from that cash crop being grown in Barbados. If the Canadians and the Americans do arrive, they must find all Barbadians already seated at the table.


The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – Medical Marijuana in the Workplace

The proposal by the government to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes is likely to have a significant impact on employment relations in general and the workplace in particular.

To date, the local proposal for legalization does not contemplate recreational marijuana use but, given the likely concomitant increase in the availability of the substance with legalization, it seems unlikely that there will not be at least an unofficial relaxation in the rigour of enforcement of the current legal prohibitions on the possession, supply and handling of marijuana. This fact, at least, should spare human resource professionals from having to distinguish in the workplace between those who consume marijuana for therapeutic purposes and those who do so merely for recreation.

And while there has been, as yet, no draft legislation on the matter, it is possible to make an educated guess that the law will allow those who are prescribed marijuana by a certified medical practitioner to obtain controlled cannabis from licensed providers or to produce a quantity for personal use or, perhaps, even to designate a provider. In this context, the key to legality will be the lawful prescription.

In my view, the prospect of medical marijuana being obtained from brick and mortar stores is still a way off, but we are a culture that is, if nothing else, inured to the commercial sale of products and this phenomenon will doubtless soon reach the supply of medical marijuana.

It is foreseen that the main impacts on the employment relation will be in the areas of discrimination, occupational safety and health, and employee entitlements.

In the context of discrimination, the critical issue will not arise so much in the classical sense of affording different treatment to similarly situated employees, but rather in the accommodation to be afforded to those workers who have been prescribed marijuana as part of their medical regimen.

Unfortunately, to date, Barbados has not enacted a general anti-discrimination statute that would cover the private sector. We have allowed ourselves to be content with the constitutional guarantee that, because of the state action doctrine, is of benefit to state employees only.

There is a provision covering anti-discrimination at work in the text of Protocol VI, where the Social Partners agree that a national employment policy should “ensure the freedom of choice of employment in an environment void of any form of discrimination [emphasis mine], and some clauses of the Employment Rights Act 2012 treat as automatically unfair a dismissal where the reason for it is determined to be “that the employee is or was a disabled person…in circumstances where the employer could have reasonably been expected to offer the employee alternative employment…” or where the dismissal is based on any of the traditional non-permissible grounds such as race, colour, gender, age, marital status political opinion, national extraction or social or indigenous origin, trade union membership and activity, pregnancy, HIV seropositivity or affliction with any other life threatening illness, or disease.

In spite of the impressive protection provided by this list, it does not cover an act of discrimination falling short of dismissal, so that an employee who is not accommodated by an employer in order to treat his or her “disability” with marijuana would have little recourse under this statute.

Moreover, while the text of the Protocol quoted above would seem at first blush, to be beneficial to a medically compromised employee, it is not a legally enforceable document and, in any event, the right is not individualized nor is its language contractual in nature.

So far as employee entitlements are concerned, one nascent issue will be whether medical plans by the employer will cover the cost of obtaining medical marijuana. This is essentially a matter for agreement between the relevant parties; the employer and the insurance company. While there is no immediate legal bar to such coverage, the matter is one dependent on the voluntariness of the entities involved and it is recognized that not everyone will be keen on the use of marijuana, even when consumed for medical purposes only. This should be a bargaining chip for workers’ organizations during negotiations.

Finally, since a prescription for medical marijuana does not entitle an employee to compromise the safety of anyone at the workplace, including themselves, employers may want to know if they have the right to test employees to detect impairment in the employee.

This is a rather complex issue; first, the legality of the right to test at all. While this may be conceded as implied into the managerial imperative in safety sensitive sectors such as the operation of heavy vehicles or machinery; it becomes purely a matter of contract and human rights law in other contexts. To this end, the local employer should enter into dialogue with the recognized bargaining agent, if there is one, to have the right to test incorporated in individual contracts of employment. Alternatively, the employer might wish to publish a workplace policy that provides for testing where there is a reasonable suspicion of impairment that poses a threat to the safety culture of the workplace.

Under the Safety and Health at Work Act 2005, the employer has a duty to use reasonably practicable measures to ensure the health safety and welfare of employees and the safety of lawful visitors to the workplace. Section 7(4) of that Act also mandates the employer to prepare, revise as may be appropriate and publish to employees a statement of general policy with respect to workplace safety. It may be argued and is submitted that this policy is the touchstone for employers to regulate the use of medical marijuana in workplace relations.

Second, there is no bright line for what constitutes impairment because of marijuana use. It is notorious that tolerance levels vary from individual to individual, to the quality and amount of the substance consumed. Perhaps the definition of impairment should be left up to competently advised drafters of the legislation to prescribe what would constitute necessary indicia for an employer to have sufficient grounds to test an employee.

A blessed and happy long Easter weekend to all my readers!

Marijuana High

Submitted by Robert D. Lucas,PH.D


The Editor:

I read the below article in Barbados Today.

I had to laugh at the logic behind Adonijah’s reasoning. After all, he referred to Dr.Baird’s position as one engendered from ignorance. In fact,the appellation can be applied to his position as well.

Attached is an article from the Daily MailDoes marijuana make people violent? Washington state’s murder and assault rate surged 40% after drug was legalized – and experts insist that’s not a coincidence – which he would do well to peruse. I am amazed that persons without adequate scientific training can be so dogmatic in the positions taken when dealing with topics, the pros and cons of which require in depth scientific analysis.

Here is the Barbados Today article:

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.

The Grenville Phillips Column | Marijuana – to legalise or not?

We were told that if we wanted the youth vote, that we must agree to legalise marijuana for recreational use.  Well, Solutions Barbados policies will significantly benefit the youth of Barbados.  However, while we plan to allow non-addictive extracts to be prescribed by doctors for medicinal uses, recreational use of marijuana is another question.

In a Solutions Barbados administration, using marijuana will not attract a prison sentence or court presence, but a fine, much like how illegal parking attracts a parking ticket.  Marijuana will remain an illegal substance in order to protect our youth.

Many of our youth tend to push the boundaries of what previous generations agreed was generally acceptable behaviour.  Some of our behaviours result from researched health and safety standards while some are cultural.

Our youth tend to push the boundaries of all behaviours during their development as they find their own way.  Parents and guardians are responsible for restraining them if their behaviours can cause harm to themselves or others.

During interactions with some young teenagers, they noted that they did not use Facebook, for the simple reason that many their parents used it.  Instead, they used the more recently developed application, Instagram, which few of their parents used.

Our youth have a natural desire to express themselves differently from the previous generation.  This desire is normal and may be expressed by their embracing the latest technological equipment, music, dress and/or other types of fashion.

The styles between generations is sufficiently far apart that our youth tend to stand out when they are with adults.  However, when competing to be different among their peers, they may be tempted to cross the boundary of is legally accepted.  They may express their desire to stand out among their peers by exceeding the speed limit, which is why their car insurance premiums are higher.

Some youth are attracted to marijuana for the simple reason that it is illegal.  However, if it is legalised, then they will likely find something else to differentiate themselves from the normal crowd.  In the US, where states legalised marijuana for recreational use, the youth turned to brain altering drugs, and deaths from overdosing on opioids increased significantly.

Legalising something harmful may seem like a good solution to reduce the costs of policing.  However, I do not think that the foreseen consequential damage to our youth is worth it.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and the founder of Solutions Barbados.  He can be reached at