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An internet photo of marijuana.
An internet photo of marijuana.
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Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves. (IWN file photo)
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves. (IWN file photo)

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves is calling for a discussion within CARICOM on medical marijuana.

Gonsalves on Sept. 2 wrote to Chair of CARICOM and Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, asking for preliminary talks on the subject at next Tuesday’s meeting of “the Bureau of CARICOM Heads”.

He noted the recent debate in Jamaica and other CARICOM countries about the possibilities of medical marijuana as an economic and commercial industry.

He further said that influential persons, such as Jamaican chemist and cancer researcher, Dr. Henry Lowe, have been speaking in favour of the legitimate utilisation of marijuana products for a range of medical/health purposes.

“I think that it is high time that CARICOM address, regionally, this matter in a sensible, focussed, non-hysterical manner,” Gonsalves said.

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“After all, the marijuana plant has a bundle of proven, and potentially, beneficial uses,” he said even as he noted that the cultivation, possession and supply of marijuana “have impacted on our people’s health, welfare and security”.

Gonsalves is calling for a CARICOM-led debate in the context of the legalisation of marijuana in 20 states in the United States.

“The USA is already miles ahead of all other countries, globally, in medical marijuana,” he said.

He added that the United States already has a huge industry with legitimate cultivation, research, production, and distribution of pharmaceutical and cosmetic products.

“The longer we wait to give serious regional consideration to this subject, the further behind we will lag in the inevitable legitimisation of medical marijuana globally,” he further stated.

“In the end, our Caribbean would consume the medical/health, cosmetic, and other products derived from marijuana, legally grown and produced in the USA.”

Gonsalves spoke of the wider debate on the overall policy on marijuana in which the political and civic leadership in CARICOM member states ought to be urgently engaged.

He said that while the Organisation of American States, of which CARICOM makes up almost half, seeks to break new exploratory ground in alternative policy perspective, CARICOM continues to emphasise the security, and penal and penal dimensions of marijuana misuse and abuse rather than the educational and health aspects.

Gonsalves said that the call more than a decade ago by Prime Minister of St. Lucia, Dr. Kenny Anthony, for a CARICOM Commission on Marijuana “fell on deaf ears”.

“Perhaps this initiative ought to be elaborated and accorded further reflection, without prejudice to my own request on medical marijuana,” he said.

“The general public, including a huge swath of our thoughtful young people, are broadly disappointed with the failure and/or refusal of the political and civic leadership in CARICOM to jettison its unnecessary caution and lethargy in addressing some of the controversial, contemporary issues of real import,” Gonsalves said.

“We must not be afraid in putting them under the searching light of informed discussion, on the front-burner, with visible political leadership,” he further stated.

8 replies on “Gonsalves wants CARICOM to discuss medical marijuana”

  1. Patrick Ferrari says:

    Compared to Ralph, Kenny Anthony is a wimp. Ralph said that Anthony’s call for a CARICOM Commission on Marijuana “fell on deaf ears.” Comrade is a pit bull by comparison. This one is not going to fall on deaf ears; he is not going to let it go. And so he shouldn’t. Go for it Comrade.

    I would spit if, as Ralph says, in the end, we could be consuming the benefits of medical marijuana and the spin-offs of marijuana legally grown and produced in the States. That is what will happen if we put our tail between our legs (like Anthony) and do not get in on the act NOW.

    In America, Marijuana is legal in 20 States, yes. But it isn’t with the Federal government so it is not going to be a walk in the park, which never deterred Comrade. But why wait, because a good set besides the 20 are lined up to go legal too.

    I am with Comrade on this, all the way.

  2. HA HA HA, desperate talk in desperate times. The next thing Gonsalves will jump on is the death penalty just to get support at home. Gonsalves now wants the ‘vagabonds’ to think he’s looking out for them and show up at Bunny Wailer, that is ll this marijuana talk about.

  3. I think we should use it on him first and see if there is any improvement in his aggression and anger control. He would make a great guinea pig.

  4. Wait a f’king minute, whats going on here….I am agreeing with Gonsalves AGAIN? WTF!

    I am not simply for the medicinal- purposes-only argument ..nope, I am for the straight up legalization of weed entirely. I say let the market forces dictate the faith of weed, just like cigarette and rum. I just saw a tweet, with Gonsalves clarifying his position on the weed issue…which is the same nonsense being spouted by most politicians…that they are not in favor of decriminalizing the use of weed…I am not surprised by this at all…Gonsalves is simply using this issue as another form of distraction. He is not genuinely concern about this issue beyond getting some political mileage out of it….But having said that, I do agree with his position on said issue of the medicinal use of the weed.

    It would be interesting to hear the position of the Medical Director and other higher-ups in the medical fraternity in SVG on this issue. I have a friend who is a doctor and she has been quite adamant over the years that there was no real medicinal value to using weed. And suggested, that any medicinal effect derived from weed can easily be obtained from pharmaceutical produced medicine. I know she would be rolling her eyes, upon hearing this declaration from Gonsalves.

    I honestly do not have a strong opinion on the medicinal aspect of weed…but if Tosh says that “It’s good for the flu; good for asthma, good for tuberculosis, even umara composis”, well who is me to call the great Tosh a liar… I am simply an advocate for the wholesale legalization of weed, for the simple reason, that its wholly unfair that you can drink your rum and smoke cigarettes to your heart content without the immediate burden of being locked up for a number of years but if I smoke a spliff, babylon looking to throw me in jail for years, in some instances…that can’t be right, given that both rum and cigarettes are far more detrimental to one’s health and a greater risk to the breakdown of societal values. When last you hear anyone says, its the weed mek me do it…nope, its always the rum mek me do it…ok…lol.

    I believe folks have the god given right to smoke their weed, without the fear of your freedom might be taken away from you. I want to be able to walk in a shop in Vincyland and call for a bottle of Hennessy, a pck of trojans-large of course; two bread and chicken…and a pck of minted-flavor weed…I am just saying.

    Well, the Rasta community and other like minded folks must be in a state of delirium from all this recent ole talk from Gonsalves. First came the ole talk of reparations and all its baggage,that have some folks all worked up looking for free money; then if that wasn’t sufficient of a distraction, he bringing the living legend, Bunny Wailer, to perform; this is madness. And to top it all off, you giving them weed to soothe their sickness?…no longer will they be a victim of those private practice leeches?…so in essence, what the untutored and chattering nabobs are hearing from Gonsalves, is that he would put money in your pocket, provide you with world class, musical entertainment…and just in case yo head hut yo… just roll a blunt, call Molly and everything irie? Bombocloth.

    Now, wtf is Eustace giving me? Sackcloth and ashes?

  5. Am all for Medical Marijuana but we all need to do a bit more research before getting carried away too easily.

    Saw a news network documentary on the issue a few months back, “medical plants” are very genetically modified, altering DHT and THC levels to create super plants with super yields. It’s actually the Laboratories that make most the profits from selling seeds not the growers and dispensaries. ( Similarly, read up on Corn Seeds and a company called Monsanto ).

    We’ll need to set up test labs to establish our unique strains and produce specialized seeds, build 24 hour lighted and controlled greenhouses (to prevent cross pollination with local wild plants ) and recognized certification and distribution standards to be even close to competitive with already established high yield US producers.

  6. My problem is how they are legalizing marijuana after they have imprisoned so many young people for having it in their possession. They are now looking at the money and not the lives of the youth they have incarcerated for years and destroyed.
    This medical crap is just to take control of supplying the weed to users. They should legalize it completely and stop this medical whitewash. Do we have the money to do the research into which strain of marijuana would help cancer sufferers and other diseases? No we don’t and we’d have to rely on the American research labs for their lab reports. People suffering from various diseases will have to try different things to see which works and which doesn’t. Lab results take years and most people don’t have the time.
    Get rid of the entire laws on the books and let the police and the coast guards do something more worthwhile; with the time they have chasing people around the island. They can now spend more time; helping to guard the crops and animals of farmers, who have seen their livelihood destroyed by thieves.

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