Calls for some marijuana-related offences to be expunged from records
The reclassification from a dangerous drug to a controlled substance and legalisation of marijuana has been recommended by the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) Regional Commission on Marijuana.
Released Sunday, the commission’s report discussed the potential economic, legal and social implications as well as health applications of the plant’s use.
“The commission is unanimous in its view that ultimately, legal policy toward marijuana should be informed – not by punitive approaches – but by public health rationales within a human rights, social justice, and developmental perspective,” the report stated.
“A too-limited approach to law reform, including one that focuses only on medical marijuana, would be counterproductive and inimical to the goals of Caribbean development … a balanced approach that would meet the main social justice, public health rights and citizen security objectives of the region would be a hybrid or mixed option.”
While the report suggested a ban on the substance in public places, it also called for the decriminalization of marijuana and suggested that persons with past marijuana-related offences should have their records expunged.
The report encouraged governments to allow small farmers and small businesses to be included in the production and supply of chain with appropriate controls.
It also maintained the prohibition of the substance to minors with the exception of when used for medicinal purposes.
The commission also highlighted reasons why the continued prohibition of marijuana excluded the CARICOM region from substantial economic gain.
Among examples was the prospect of an expanded tourism industry further leveraged by a controlled marijuana industry.
The report also noted that, while the commission acknowledges that marijuana has some psychotropic properties, it is comfortable with the substantial support for the drug from existing research of the substance.
“On balance, after evaluating the scientific data … the commission is of the view that the proven medical benefits of cannabis/marijuana in several areas outweigh the risks,” the report said.