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Caricom Called Upon to Legalize Marijuana

Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has written to the Caribbean Community Chairwoman Kamla Persad-Bissessar, the prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago, to ask that CARICOM address the possibility of legalizing marijuana for medical purposes.

“I think that it is high time that CARICOM address, regionally, this matter in a sensible, focused, non-hysterical manner. After all, the marijuana plant has a bundle of proven, and potentially, beneficial uses,” said Gonsalves in a letter dated Sept. 2, 2013.

“It is true that its misuse, and the consequential criminalization of its cultivation, possession and supply, have impacted on our people’s health, welfare, and security,” he added.

The debate over the possibilities of medical marijuana has been gathering traction regionally and internationally, and some member states of CARICOM have been weighing in on the issue of medical marijuana as an economic and commercial industry.

Not all CARICOM Leaders are jumping on the bandwagon for marijuana’s decriminalization, but are instead focusing on its misuse and ill effects.

Recent comments publicly made by the Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis Dr. Denzil Douglas on the decriminalization of marijuana, have upset some supporters, especially members of the Rastafarian community, who believe that “ganja” is an integral part of their religion.

However, the prime minister’s comments have appeased others, who think that marijuana smoking is detrimental to their physical, psychological and emotional well-being.

At a recent Passing Out Parade of 28 St. Kitts-Nevis Defense Force (SKNDF) soldiers, Douglas charged the soldiers to be militant in their fight to exterminate the cultivation and sale of marijuana on the island.

A medical doctor by profession, Douglas acknowledges that marijuana has medicinal benefits but quickly points out that he has seen marijuana cause serious mental illnesses in its users, leading to self-destruction.

He doesn’t seem in any hurry to decriminalize it.


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