REGIONAL COMMISSION ON MARIJUANA HOLDS NATIONAL CONSULTATIONS IN GUYANA
Written by CARICOM Secretariat on November 3, 2017
Guyana will host consultations surrounding the use of marijuana on 6 November 2017; as part of the Caribbean Community’s call for” careful in-depth research” to inform decision-making on the issue.
The Regional Commission on Marijuana, established by CARICOM Heads of Government, will hold a number of focus groups with Youth, Faith-based organizations and special interests groups A Town Hall Meeting opened to the public, is scheduled for 5p.m. at the St. Stanislaus College, Brickdam, Georgetown.
The region-wide consultations are intended to obtain information on the social, economic, health and legal issues related to marijuana use in the Caribbean. Such information would, among other outcomes, determine whether there should be a change in the current drug classification, modeled after the UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. for which many, if not all, CARICOM members are party to.
Given that reclassification of the drug would make it legally accessible for all types of use, including religious, recreational, medical and research, the Regional Commission is expected also to provide recommendations on the legal and administrative conditions that will apply, as per its Terms of Reference.
Many countries’ legislations do not currently allow for full legislation under international law and national approaches to addressing this issue have resulted in various positions. In the case of Jamaica, for example, the Dangerous Drugs Act was amended in 2016 and legislation was passed which reduced possession of small quantities to a petty offence. It also created the framework for the development of legal medical marijuana, hemp and nutraceutical industries.
Antigua and Barbuda’s Cabinet agreed, in August 2016, to send a draft law to Parliament for its first reading. In August of this year, Belize introduced an amendment to its Misuse of Drugs Act, to deciminalise the possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana.
The proposed legislation also provides for the imposition of monetary and non recordable penalties for such amounts that are found on school premises in specialized circumstances and decriminalizes the use of the substance in small amounts on private premises (Amandela News)_
In other countries there have been widespread public information and communications initiatives driven by both government and civil society.
In addition to national consultations, the Regional Marijuana Commission will undertake extensive secondary research to inform the preparation of reports to be submitted to the CARICOM Heads of Government for its consideration.
To date, consultations have taken place in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda and Barbados. National consultations will continue in Suriname, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Belize.
The Commission is headed by Prof. Rose-Marie-Bell Antoine, Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus,and comprises practitioners with expert knowledge in a variety of disciplines including medicine and allied health, health research, law enforcement, ethics, education, anthropology/sociology/ culture.
Photo caption: Flashback to the first regional consultation held in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Head of Commission (4th from R) Prof. Rosemarie Belle-Antoine, members of the Commission w St. Vincent P.M. Hon. Ralph Gonsalves (5th from R) and CARICOM Secretariat Assistant Secretary General for Human and Social Development , Dr. Douglas Slater, in June 2016.
For more visit: http://caricom.org/marijuana-commission