As the marijuana debate heats up in the Bahamas, it is unsurprising that notable public figures are willing to give their opinions. However, Bahama’s Tribune 242 reports that Minister of State for Legal Affairs Damian Gomez did more than just offer an opinion. He flat-out blasted the Bahamas’ government for its slow work on cannabis reform.
Medical professionals are now busy drafting a report stating their position on medical marijuana. If history is any indicator from countries like Canada and the U.S. (in certain states), the medical community is not keen on marijuana. Whether Gomez knows this, he feels he needs to educate these doctors on the utter silliness of opposing medical cannabis.
Gomez, who is clearly a strong supporter of medical marijuana, makes a lot of valid points while refusing to mince words. His message is simple, explaining that the current cannabis policies are poorly thought-out and poorly executed.
Not Founded in Common Sense
“Former Minister of State for Legal Affairs Damian Gomez yesterday called the government’s position on medical marijuana “ludicrous” and “illogical” given the medicinal use of derivatives from other scheduled drugs like cocaine and opium. If cocaine and cocaine-based medicines are perfectly legal to administer by a physician, what could be the argument for a doctor not legally being in a position to administer marijuana-based medications?”
A classic point, but true nonetheless. Prescription painkillers are potent, but derived from highly addictive opioids. Risk of dependency is present (albeit at its lowest) even when taking the drug in accordance with its prescribed directions.
Meanwhile, a proven painkiller with no connection to opiates and minimal risk of psychological dependency remains off the table in most cases.
Slow to Act
Prior to any sweeping legislation, Bahamas wants to wait on a report from their task force. This cautious approach may seem prudent, but Gomez says that it is redundant. As Tribune 242 points out:
“Mr. Gomez questioned why the government was waiting on a report from the Bahamas National Commission on Marijuana (BNCM) concerning medicinal use given the widespread research and adoption of specific therapies around the world.”
This is a perfectly valid concern. Studies on basic cannabis subjects are now plentiful. If the government wants to know cannabis’ potential and confirmed risks versus the known benefits, all they have to do is refer to the findings of many researchers, available in academic journals.
Mr. Gomez believes, overall, that the government’s inefficiency is unacceptable, saying:
“One would have thought that by now the government would have moved to pass whatever necessary legislation is need to legalise medical marijuana. They don’t need to wait for a commission for that. In the same way that Novocaine and these other drugs are administered, you can’t just go and get it you need a prescription, and it’s supervised by a doctor. I don’t see that as being problematic.”
Gomez is right that there is nothing stopping the government from simply passing legislation. However, his view that cannabis will automatically be safe when used under a doctor’s guidance is not as simple as he would like. The truth is that doctors know next to nothing about how to use medical cannabis, let alone advise others on how to do so. A mandatory or voluntary educational program needs to be put in place for doctors, otherwise it is simply the blind leading the blind.
WeedAdvisor’s Emphasis on Cannabis Education
WeedAdvisor is closely monitoring the development of cannabis reform in the Bahamas. What we see happening here is a clear case of poor information. If the government understood medical cannabis, it is unlikely that they would be so hesitant and reliant on reports, when the resources are more than abundant. We would also think they understand the threats posed by addictive medications and the hypocrisy of supporting their use while opposing cannabis.
This is precisely why we aim to educated. When individuals are not armed with enough information, the fallout can be isolated to the person or, in this case, cause a ripple effect that harms the progress of policy.
Hopefully, the Bahamian government will eventually open its collective mind.