Former Member of Parliament for St. Andrew South-west, Michael Baptiste has joined the call for the legalisation of the growing of marijuana on the island.
Baptiste who recently appeared on a radio and television programme has urged the ruling New National Party (NNP) and the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) to put on the table for discussion the legally growing of marijuana for export.
However, he said that farmers who will be allowed to grow marijuana to bring in foreign exchange for Grenada must also sign up to grow other agricultural crops.
Appearing on a radio programme, the former Opposition Leader spoke of the economic benefits that can be derived from marijuana, as he believes there is no way the people of Grenada can be further taxed by the current government.
“We could use the proceeds to bring back a back-pay for public servants, we could use the proceeds in health, and we could use the proceeds to help the young people do a lot of things,” he said.
Baptiste noted that the State of Massachusetts in the United States, which legalised the growing of Marijuana for medicinal purposes, realised US $37M, and Colorado also earned US$87M from marijuana sale.
According to Baptiste, there is no way the people of Grenada can service the national debt, provide adequate health care and education, and provide the social programmes that are needed.
Baptiste said most Grenadians, especially in the rural areas are currently tense and stressed out as the local economy has virtually collapsed.
During the debate on the 2017 budget, Parliamentary Representative for St. George’s North East, Tobias Clement made a call for marijuana to be decriminalised.
However, Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell in his rebuttal of the budget stated that this will not happen under his watch.
Chairman of NDC, Vincent Roberts has come out to give his full support for the decriminalisation of marijuana.
Roberts told a television station that he has experienced marijuana in its medicinal use in assisting his son in relieving pain while receiving chemotherapy treatment for colon cancer in Jamaica.
“The research has shown the use of marijuana is very good in managing the symptoms of chemotherapy,” he said.
“I am convinced, without any doubt, that there is need for immediate consideration of the use of marijuana in medicine,” he added.
The NDC Chairman indicated that his position on decriminalizing the herb is personal and does not reflect the views of Congress.
According to Roberts, the issue of the decriminalisation of marijuana has already surfaced at the party level, but no position has been taken on it.
Attorney-at-Law, Anselm Clouden, at a recent press conference gave notice of starting a movement to take the issue to the next General Elections.
Clouden who has for years been calling for the decriminalisation of marijuana said candidates will be asked to declare their position on the herb prior to the elections that are constitutionally due in 2018.
He dropped hints of persons in the movement willing to support those candidates who are prepared to support the legalising of ganja for medicinal purposes.