HEALTH Minister Dr Duane Sands.
By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Staff Reporter
AS the government’s crackdown on CBD products also forces out dairy alternative hemp milk and protein powders, Health Minister Dr Duane Sands says “don’t shoot the messenger”.
Up to yesterday, hemp goods were still on the shelves of several stores across the capital.
Dr Sands told The Tribune he has received several angry calls from consumers over the loss of a longstanding healthy alternative to dairy products, but reiterated “there is no distinction, the law is the law”.
“I understand the view that’s being put out that somehow this (hemp) is innocuous,” he said.
“It’s no different than numbers. Numbers been played for decades but it wasn’t legal. So people been murdering for decades, it ain’t legal.”
Dr Sands said: “That argument doesn’t hold water. We are attempting to deal with a matter that is contentious and controversial not everybody has the same view.
“There are existing laws and if we are a country that follows the rule of law, then even if you didn’t know that you were breaking the law before, and you know the law now, then it’s reasonable for you to cease and desist.”
Dr Sands announced in Parliament earlier this month that his ministry had met with Department of Customs officials and police over the influx of CBD and THC products hitting shelves locally.
Medical marijuana can be prescribed as the whole, unprocessed marijuana plant or its basic extracts, and the major active compounds in those extracts, are the cannabinoids CBD, THC, and cannabinol or CBN - which is mildly psychoactive with powerful sedative properties.
Popular uses of CBD - which is not psychoactive - include relief from chronic, muscle pain, convulsions, and inflammation; and the use of CBD oil has become immensely popular.
However, the Dangerous Drug Act restricts “every compound, manufacture, salt derivative, mixture or preparation of such plant or resin” unless given a special permit for medical or scientific purpose.
Dr Sands said yesterday: “I’ve heard this argument from several reasonable people that it’s only hemp and it’s innocuous and it’s this and it’s that. I will refer you again to the law, it makes no distinction it says all strains of cannabis.
“Don’t shoot the messenger,” he continued, “at the end of the day there is a process and there are laws.”
“Whether you believe it’s a reasonable law or you don’t believe it is a reasonable law it’s the law. And until such time as the law is changed I am duty bound to ensure to the best of my ability that the rule of law is followed in this country.”
He added: “For me to be promoting disobedience or violation of the law is inappropriate as a lawmaker.”