BIM to free all in prison on marijuana charges
The conversation about the next move for the use of marijuana had reached the Barbados Integrity Movement (BIM) with the party promising that, if brought to power, they will release those from prison on marijuana related charges.
This declaration was made by party leader, Neil Holder in a Facebook post earlier today adding to the political discussion on whether the use of the plant should be decriminalized or legalised.
Holder said BIM stands in support of decriminalization of small quantities and said he believes Barbados needs to make similar policy changes considering the rest of the world is moving in the same direction. He referenced Antigua and Barbuda as another Caribbean country which had decriminalized the use of the plant.
Holder said the number of persons passing through the judicial system for possessing small quantities of marijuana as well as those who have been remanded for use of the drug was a waste of taxpayers dollars, considering that it takes up to $3,500 to maintain one prisoner for a month.
"We simply have too many persons on remand in prison based on charges for having an ounce or even two little spliffs in their pocket and finding themselves up there because they cannot afford bail … causing a strain on our economy."
He added this also puts a strain on the family members of the accused.
"If they are not there to subsidize and support then it becomes a problem for our welfare department."
He said, for this reason, those being housed at HMP Dodds on marijuana charges should be freed.
"The Barbados Integrity Movement intends, upon assuming office, once this is the will of the Lord, to ensure that everyone that is in prison right now for marijuana will be released and the charges expunged from their record."
Holder added it was time to have a serious conversation about marijuana use in light of the fact that the Rastafarian community have always been under heavy scrutiny for the use of the plant and also considering its medicinal benefits.
Holder also pointed out that some tourists visit the island expecting to enjoy the use of marijuana as they do in other countries. He said it was time to discuss how to benefit economically from marijuana.
"Let us start the conversation of how we can turn this taboo to a plausible industry that can help to benefit all in our country. Furthermore we have to be conscious of the fact that there are tourists who come here from other nations where marijuana is no longer criminalized."
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