A report from News Americas Now.
The Caribbean Community’s, (CARICOM), Marijuana Commission has recommended the decriminalizing of marijuana possession for member states.
The report and recommendations are reportedly set to reviewed by Caribbean heads of government who wrap up their 39th conference of in Montego Bay, St James today, July 6, 2018.
In its report, according to the Jamaica gleaner, the Commission, argued that a strictly regulated framework for marijuana, similar to that for alcohol and tobacco, should be introduced.
“The commission is unanimous in its view that the current classification for cannabis/ marijuana as a ‘dangerous drug’ with ‘no value’ or narcotic should be changed to a classification of legal cannabis as a ‘controlled substance’,” the report reportedly stated. It, however, recommends that marijuana smoking and other uses should be banned in all public spaces.
Commission members also said that prohibition for children and young persons within an appropriate age limit should be maintained, except for medical reasons. It further said that young people who use marijuana should be directed to treatment and diversion program rather than being prosecuted or criminalized.
At the same time, the report reportedly stated that Caribbean nations must also ensure unhindered access to cannabis/ marijuana for scientific and medical research by approved institutions and researchers.
It is left to be seen how many member governments will adopt the recommendations into law.
The news comes as leader of the main opposition St. Lucia Labor Party, (SLP), Philip Pierre, has asserted that this country must take a position on marijuana, declaring that it is an issue that can no longer be dodged.
Pierre recalled that the 2016 election manifesto the SLP declared that the party would have a commission to discuss marijuana. He noted that the then prime minister, Dr. Kenny Anthony, said the island would go the way of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on the issue.
“Now that horse has bolted – CARICOM has gone their own way,” the SLP leader explained.
He observed that Grenada, Antigua and Trinidad and Tobago have all gone their different ways.
“St Lucia must take a position,” Pierre told reporters.
The Castries East MP expressed the view that for a start, the criminal record should be cleared of the names of people who have been convicted for small quantities of marijuana.
Pierre said the marijuana issue should be considered, not only from the point of view of smoking the herb, but from an economic standpoint as well.