The Government of Barbados has made the decision with the approval of cabinet to draft legislation to take to parliament for debate to allow members of the community to use cannabis as part of their religious ritual.
During the debate on the Medical Cannabis Bill 2019 yesterday Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Dale Marshall made the announcement. Stating the decision to introduce the legislation was made following a challenge made by the Rastafarian community to allow them to use the plant for their sacramental beliefs in the same way the measures are considering the use for medical purposes.
Marshall said and quote;
“I have taken to Cabinet and I have got Cabinet’s approval for the preparation of a Bill to bring to this Chamber which will facilitate the use by members of the Rastafarian faith of cannabis for the purpose of their religion.
“Mr Speaker, for us to continue to prohibit that, would be to continue to breach their fundamental constitutional rights. And not just rights guaranteed by the Barbados Constitution, but rights guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
“And that covenant says in Article 18 (1) ‘Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice. And freedom either individually or in community with others and in public or private to manifest his religion, or belief or worship, observance, practice and teaching.’ The Barbados constitution Sir, which came after the treaty was in place but before we signed on to it, is expressed in similar words,”
Marshall also noted that he was aware that some groups in society would not agree on the position, he believes that in constitutional theory it was the right and decent thing to do.