Not so fast, Branson!

A local criminologist is dismissing British billionaire Sir Richard Branson’s recommendation on marijuana use as a moot point, suggesting the Englishman was way off the mark.

The Virgin Atlantic boss yesterday added his voice to the call for the use of small amounts of cannabis to be made legal here, joining what has been a controversial and emotive debate.

However, Director of the Criminal Justice Research and Planning (CJRP) Unit Cheryl Willoughby today brushed aside the suggestions, arguing the criminal justice system was by no means inundated with people charged with using small amounts of ganja.

Nearly all marijuana-related cases, she said, were linked to possession and trafficking in large amounts of the illegal substance.

“Most of the persons, and I mean 99 per cent of the persons, who have to face the criminal justice system for marijuana are those who are involved in trafficking and those who have large amounts of marijuana.

“We have to look at our own local experience, and from the research, those who are dealt with by courts are not dealt with because of a spliff,” Willoughby told journalists on the sideline of this morning’s launch of Winners’ Circle 11-plus Programme at the Ministry of Home Affairs in Wildey, St Michael.

Speaking yesterday at the Business is an Adventure leadership conference at the Hilton Barbados Resort,
Branson said the fight against drug use globally had been
“an abject failure for the last 60 years”, and the authorities here should consider treating the issue as a health matter, not a criminal one.

Pointing out that there had been detailed research on “the war on drugs” over the years, the billionaire adventurer said it was “absolutely clear that if you treat people that have a drug problem as a health issue and not a criminal issue you are much more likely to address it and help them and get over that problem and become useful members of society.

“So we welcome the different experimentations going on around the world and we welcome countries that have tried decriminalizing drugs. We welcome states that have actually legalized marijuana,” he added, contending there had been no increase in cannabis use in where it had been legalized,” he said.

However the CJRP director is warning against any attempt to adopt a one-size-fits-all approach to the issue, noting that the country had made significant strides towards treating marijuana use as a health issue.

“We cannot look at what is happening in other jurisdictions. If you look at Barbados within the past two years, we have established the Drug Treatment Court where we have actually taken another step in ensuring that young persons in particular get help for marijuana use and other drug use. So I cannot say that we should decriminalize the use of marijuana because that does not reflect the reality of our criminal justice system,” she stressed.

Just this week Senior Registrar in the Department of Psychiatry at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) Dr Tonya Holder predicted differing opinions among mental health specialists and those dealing with internal medicine on decriminalization of marijuana.

She told a discussion on Exploring Suicide in Barbados at the Cave Hill Wesleyan Holiness Church that doctors in psychiatry would argue that early cannabis use would lead to “early onset schizophrenia, more mental health issues, and an increase in substance abuse in general, which can lead to forensic cases, disinhibition, and we can see suicide attempts increasing as well”.

“However, internal medicine doctors may want to look at medicinal marijuana and what they see as positives, such as extracting a few cannabinoids from the plant and using them to treat glaucoma, and to assist in pain management with cancer. So, you will get mixed answers to this for sure, but from a psychiatrist’s end my answer would be ‘no,’” Dr Holder said.

16 Responses to Not so fast, Branson!

  1. Jennifer May 4, 2017 at 11:53 pm

    Some things never change. Is it because things can’t change or is it because you all don;t want things to change? Take away your television sets and you all are totally unable to think. Recessive trying to lead dominant. My suggestion is to blow up the box. The ones who put you lot in the box holding the key tightly. You keep letting the stranger in. When you lot had the chance to overcome the strangers you refused not to and made a deal with the devil.

  2. Ras Small
    Ras Small May 5, 2017 at 12:08 am

    Criminologist ain know wha da talking bout neida.
    Ppl may not be getting lock up as much as b4 fah a joint, but de coffers raking in de dough.
    And it used ta be forthwith or 6 mths fah a roach.

  3. Nick MuscleTech Benjamin
    Nick MuscleTech Benjamin May 5, 2017 at 12:09 am

    In come the backwards jackasses who have no plans for the future and whose ideals are white washed in primitive ignorance. Barbados has to have the most educated idiots on this planet! Control a plant that is sending majority of the youth to jail? Cut out the “weedmen”, tax the damn thing heavily, control personal amounts and watch the profit. Could it be the savior this dying country needs? God forbid that things “change” around here. The attempt to keep Barbados as it was in 1950 is crippling this damn island! Change is necessary. Get with it!

    • Sherlock Holmes. May 5, 2017 at 6:49 am

      Maybe Mr Muscle Tech the consumption of the same weed has altered the most important muscle in your body and i will jokingly say your brain. We do not need the elitist with their hidden agendas that lead to destruction telling us what to do, i heard loud clapping yesterday coming from an audience of so called brilliant people and it really reminded me that once someone of a certain ilk says something it is like gospel to people who should know better. The thing is, i am not sure whether it is already legalized in his country of birth as the last time i read Barbadians were still being locked up there for trafficking in the same drug. Home drums should beat first let the billionaire start at home with his suggestion and leave our country out. If we tout emancipation then we do not need any masters telling us what is good for us especially that which can be considered as a vice.

      • Jennifer May 5, 2017 at 6:54 am

        @Sherlock H – they like it so. Total nut jobs.

        • Jennifer May 5, 2017 at 7:02 am

          I can only wish that we simple minded black people would wake up and smell the greener side of life. And ask ourselves are we really independent? Why our so called leaders CANNOT STOP EATING OUT OF THAT PROVERBIAL HOG TROTH.

  4. sticks and stones May 5, 2017 at 5:13 am

    Barbados in the 1950’s did not have crime at the levels it is presently. So maybe indeed with all the education that barbadian have they country are all made up of intellectual idiots who only see dollar bills but does not see the social and economic backlash that would eventually cost govt more in health cost from legalising marijuana

  5. the Carib May 5, 2017 at 8:18 am

    Why not do a review on the most advanced research from Israel.
    to find why it is more beneficial use to medicine than labeled as a narcotic, I will support Branson than any other wet heads (alcohol users) who should take a look at the two substances, and have a world survey report. They will find that alcohol is a bigger problem as a substance älthough it has been decriminalised .

  6. Alex Alleyne May 5, 2017 at 10:02 am

    WHERE ARE YOU TODAY (Helicopter(8P).

  7. SHARON May 5, 2017 at 11:08 am

    what ppl fail to understand is that these men smoke marijuana n when they come here they have to hide n smoke so that is y they want small amount to b legalize take it from me i worked at a private house were these men stayed both from here n abroad n they all had they joints

  8. Peter May 5, 2017 at 11:37 am

    All Sir Richard did was to make a suggestion, he never called for abuse of the item. In Barbados children are doing everything. sex, drugs and alcohol. In certain well developed countries like Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, France Germany Norway, Austria, Switzerland et al. there are special zones people go and take their stuff. Most of them are addicted. Hence if they can use it in these recommended zones, they will not commit crimes. In this world, change is constant. We have to and MUST deal with change. Jennifer, I’ll be looking for you in London in August.

    • Sherlock Holmes. May 5, 2017 at 1:32 pm

      Did you forget to mention the UK or is it still illegal there? My case in point. We do not need advice in that area from Branston!

      • Jennifer May 5, 2017 at 2:25 pm

        Barbados is guinea pig territory. GO AND TALK HOME.

      • Jennifer May 5, 2017 at 2:46 pm

        @Sherlock H – well spotted, good man. The stuff is not even legal in the UK. But that mother ship and her babies keep giving our appointed nicons advise. We are surely in ninconville. I detest blind @ss people.

        • Jennifer May 5, 2017 at 2:48 pm

          error – advice

  9. gsmiley May 5, 2017 at 9:06 pm

    Jennifer as usual just a bundle of words strung together that make absolutely no sense.


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