Outspoken attorney, Anselm Clouden has called for amendments to be made to the Drug Prevention and Control Act, replacing criminal sanctions imposed upon persons found with minute quantities of marijuana/cannabis in their possession with a fine.
The seasoned criminal attorney, who is a Grenadian-born Canadian citizen, made the call last week Thursday, following the Canadian government’s introduction of legislation to govern the use and sale of marijuana for recreational purposes in the Houses of Commons, last week Wednesday, coinciding with “Cannabis Day,” which is recognised on April 20, by some states within the United States of America.
The marijuana legislation, which is scheduled to take effect in 2018, has set the minimum consumption age at 18 and allows for possession of up to 30 grams of cannabis and 4 plants per household and market analysts estimating C$6 billion by 2021.
“Today is a momentous day for all Canadians including myself, Attorney Clouden told reporters during a press conference at his Lucas Street office last week Thursday.
“Only yesterday, the Government of Canada laid out its plan before the House of Commons to legalise the sale of recreational marijuana by 2018,” he remarked, adding, “It’s about time that our Drug and Prevention and Control Act be amended so that simple possession is not visited by a criminal sanction or record but by a fine; rather than saddling our young people with a criminal record for possession of minute quantities thus preventing their chances for migration.”
According to Clouden, the Canadian government decriminalised marijuana in 2001 and has “since seen reductions in problematic use, drug related harms and criminal justice overcrowding.”
Pointing to a number of states in the United States of America, including Colorado, Massachusetts, New York and Florida,” that have already legalised the herb, both for medicinal and recreational purposes, respectively and have been reaping billions of dollars as a result, Clouden is convinced that “the decriminalisation of marijuana can significantly enhance our revenue base” stating that “it is about time that we begin the debate in an intelligent manner…so that we do not get left (behind).”
“Only this morning on CBS, the state of Colorado boasted of having collected revenues in the sum of US1.5 billion dollars for the year ending 2016,” he noted.
Pointing to a preponderance of scientific evidence that marijuana is used to effectively treat very, very serious ailments such as cancers, epilepsy, asthma and high blood pressure, the attorney called for both the ruling Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) administration and the main opposition party, the National Democratic
Congress (NDC) to engage in an electoral debate as to whether dry cannabis, cannabis oils, seeds and plants should be licensed for use scientifically by the medical scientific community here and for consumption by the general public.
“It is my respectful view that the political parties should agree to place on the ballot two propositions, that the people of Grenada be given the opportunity to express themselves, express their will as to whether they would want the next administration to legalise marijuana for medicinal purposes,” he said.
“We have all sorts of herbs and indeed, marijuana is a herb and the international community has sanctioned it as such,” …the long standing attorney said as he referenced other herbs that are commonly used in Grenadian homes, such as the shadow beni, among others.
The attorney, who has also been a strong advocate for marijuana to be legalised recreationally, called for the development of a “national drug policy,” with strict measures to prohibit the sale of the substance to minors, similar to measures already being used for the sale of alcohol and cigarettes.
“We do not want our minors to indulge in the consumption of marijuana and therefore any legislation in the future would have to punish severely those who sell marijuana to minors just as it is for alcohol and cigarettes,” he said.
“We can put certain mechanisms in place so as to avoid its abuse by minors, but permit it to adults for medicinal use,” he added.