A call has been made for the Government to appoint a Parliamentary Standing Committee to review the country’s Drug Prevention and Control Act especially as it pertains to the possession and use of marijuana.
Anslem Clouden, a well-known criminal lawyer who has been advocating for the decriminalisation of marijuana for recreational use, believes the current legislation is draconian.
“The role of the Committee should be to recommend decriminalising for recreational use and legalising for medicinal use,” said Clouden.
“Reading medical reports and research and other articles about marijuana use has enlightened my knowledge about its effective role in combating certain medical ailments and I strongly believe back then and is now more convinced that Grenada need to take that route of modifying its legislation,” he added.
Clouden who has represented several persons charged with offences under the Drug Prevention and Control Act said a modification of that law will drastically reduce the prison population and at the same provide opportunities for economical development.
“When you look at the data for persons who are sent to jail for marijuana possession, the state will benefit from modifying the law because less money from taxpayers will be spent supporting those who have committed those crimes. Marijuana possession is one of the crimes that are often before the Court, so can you imagine how other cases will be dealt with and in turn reduce the growing back log,” he said.
Clouden believes that if marijuana is legalised, tourism and pharmaceutical industries would benefit.
“One of our major markets is the USA and I bet you the first country, in the region to decriminalize marijuana will have an instant increase in tourist arrival from the USA. Once a tourist knows that it will not be against the law to smoke or use a joint for recreational or medicinal use, this will change the entire landscape. Grenada needs to see that opportunity and grab it, we need to cater for all,” said Clouden.
“Caribbean countries mirror a lot of what is happening in the USA, Canada and United Kingdom, and if you look at the international world, you are seeing all these new development with regards to marijuana, so it’s just natural for our policymakers to follow. I firmly believe that the first country to jump that hurdle and modify the law will benefit tremendously in its tourism industry.”
With regards to the pharmaceutical industry, Clouden believe that farms can be established to produce marijuana to be sold directly to the pharmaceutical industry.
“We supply raw nutmegs and cocoa to the international market; we should now consider supplying marijuana to the pharmaceutical industry. Marijuana is in demand and with research now being done with the herbs and if we can supply the raw material, we should grab the opportunity,” he said.