A newly-elected Caribbean government says it will consider the issue of decriminalizing marijuana even as Canada on Thursday night voted to approve the legalization of recreational pot with a vote of 56 to 30.
The Barbados Labor Party, (BLP), government, made the disclosure this week in the Throne Speech at the start of the new parliamentary term.
Governor General Dame Sandra Mason, however, noted that Barbadians will be consulted on the issue.
“My government will consult with Barbadians on major national issues, such as the decriminalization of recreational marijuana and the question of Parliamentary Reform,” Dame Sandra said.
“After a period of public education, debate and consultation my Government will hold a referendum on the decriminalization of recreational marijuana; in the interim however, we follow the science accept the benefits of medical marijuana in treating a multiplicity of complaints,” she added. “We will regulate to facilitate its availability to those in need.”
The BLP government swept into power on May 24th with a 30-nil victory but that has since been reduced to 29-1 with the BLP’s Reverend Joseph Atherley crossing the floor and becoming Opposition Leader.
Her statement comes as the Canadian senate voted yesterday, June 7th, on Bill C-45, sponsored by Independent Senator Tony Dean, which passed the traditionally conservative Senate 56-30, with one abstention.
Because the Senate also approved almost 50 amendments throughout the debate process—including one that would let individual provinces prohibit home-grown cannabis and another to limit cannabis companies’ ability to use products like t-shirts and hats to advertise their brands—the legislation must first go back to the House of Commons. Should the House accept the amended language of the bill, legalization would “technically” be the law of the land, CTV News reported.
Once that passes, it will make the country the first G20 state to legalize recreational marijuana, fulfilling a key campaign promise of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party.
There is as yet only one country where recreational weed is fully legal – Uruguay, although foreigners there aren’t supposed to buy it. The flower is partially or fully decriminalized in some countries, such as Spain and Switzerland, and many U.S. states now allow recreational use, but Canada become the first of the world’s wealthiest countries to give its commercial sale the green light across the board.
The move should create a national testbed that will help answer questions about effects on public health and the black market.
The Canadian weed business has recently seen massive M&A in anticipation of legalization, with the big beasts to watch being Aurora Cannabis, Canopy Growth and Aphria.