Reggae singer Collie Buddz has been accused of sending “the wrong message” to his fans by appearing to align himself with the pro-marijuana lobby.

The international star will perform at big-name venues across the U.S. on a 20-date tour called Cauzin Vapors: Legalize It 2010.

The island’s anti-drug organisations say Buddz is undermining their work and setting a bad example to his young, impressionable fans.

But the musician — arguably the biggest artist to come out of the island  — says he had nothing to do with the tour name and is looking forward to “promoting Bermuda”.           

Buddz will perform alongside headlining acts Slighty Stoopid and Cypress Hill in cities including Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Detroit and Orlando.

The tour starts on July 16 and continues until August 21.

Sandy Butterfield, director at Focus Counselling Service, said: “He (Buddz) should grow up and take some responsibility.

“As an artist he has to be a responsible role model and send out the right message but he is sending out completely the wrong message.

“He is responsible for everyone in the crowd at his concerts and he is encouraging them to make the wrong choice.

“Just because he is a name-brand it doesn’t mean he is untouchable — he has to think about his actions.

 “This is Bermuda — if you get caught smoking, you aren’t going anywhere. It’s serious — you aren’t going to school, you aren’t going on vacation.”

Serious

Mrs. Butterfield said 90 per cent of clients at Focus started smoking marijuana before moving on to cocaine or heroin.

She said: “If it wasn’t for marijuana these people would be productive citizens in our communities and not seeking our services. What did marijuana do for them?

“Marijuana is a gateway for other drugs and you can never be sure what it has been mixed with.”

The Department for National Drug Control said marijuana is one of the main illegal substances being used locally by the school-aged and national population.

The organisation “does not support the decriminalisation or legalization of marijuana and will continue to counter popular culture messages that undermine this premise”.

But Senator Thaao Dill said it is “totally unreasonable” to blame Buddz for marijuana use among young people.

He believes “everyone in the human family” should act as a positive role model but drug use remains an individual choice.

Senator Dill, who is also a radio personality at HOTT 107.5, said: “It’s silly to blame others — the link between music and society’s ills cannot be taken seriously.

“There is no evidence at all to suggest this, there is no consistent benchmark.

“The world we live in is a product of our own choices.

“Marijuana use doesn’t make a hell of a lot of sense to me. To sacrifice everything for a temporary high is illogical to me.”

Buddz, who real name is Colin Harper, is “just the opening act” and “didn’t name the tour”.

He added: “It’s going to be an amazing tour. It’s great exposure for me and I’m really looking forward to it.  

“We will be performing in front of 250,000 people, an average of 6,000 people per show, and I will be promoting Bermuda whether some people like it or not.”

Buddz said he has more than 50 songs so “why do people focus on only a few?”

He added most tracks “have no lyrics about drugs of any kind”, naming Tomorrow’s Another Day as a song “telling women to treat themselves with respect”.

Buddz, of Southampton, would not say whether he wanted marijuana to be legalized but in a previous interview with the Bermuda Sun, he said: “To me weed is such a minor thing, it’s not even a drug.

“To me weed is natural, it was definitely part of growing up.”

Neither Buddz’s wife Zarah or her father Zane DeSilva, Minister without portfolio, responded to our requests for comment.