Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves. (IWN file photo)
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves. (IWN file photo)

The two lawyers and the Legion of Mary member, who use marijuana for their ailments, must continue to be circumspect to avoid arrest.

Prime Minister, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves says his government has no plan to bring legislation for medical marijuana to Parliament.

“This is a matter which we will work through the framework of CARICOM. And hopefully, we will have a big discussion on this,” he told Parliament on Thursday in response to a question from Sen. Linton Lewis, an opposition lawmaker.

Gonsalves, in September, wrote to chair of the Caribbean Community, Kamla Persad Bissessar, calling for a discussion within CARICOM on medical marijuana.

He noted the recent debate in Jamaica and other CARICOM countries about the possibilities of medical marijuana as an economic and commercial industry.

Lewis asked Gonsalves in Parliament on Thursday whether there are any plans to decriminalize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes and if so, when will legislation to that effect be brought to Parliament.

Gonsalves said that after he raised the issues with his Trinidadian counterpart, the CARICOM Secretariat was mandated to gather the research and she asked that the region look not only at medical marijuana but also at other usage.

A report should be coming to CARICOM in February when the 15-member regional bloc meets in St. Vincent, Gonsalves said.

“I decided to pursue the matter through CARICOM. The issues here are common across the region and there is a debate, which is on-going,” he said, adding that it is well established that marijuana has medicinal properties and that 20 states in the United Stated have legalised it for medical purposes.

“I know at least two lawyers in this country who suffer from arthritis who use the marijuana bush, boil it, for medicinal purposes.

“Of course, if they are caught, they will be committing an offence under the law currently,” said Gonsalves, who is also a lawyer, adding that using marijuana eases the lawyers’ pain.

He further said that a woman who is a member of the Legion of Mary uses the illegal drug to make tea and uses it for medicinal purposes.

Gonsalves, who is also Minister of Legal Affairs, noted that the woman, and the man who takes the marijuana to her, can both be arrested if caught.

He called for the issue of the use of marijuana to be discussed “sensibly and intelligently”, saying “this is not a call for the legalisation of marijuana.

“I am not making that call. I haven’t even reached the stage where I am asking for its decriminalisation for small quantities,” he further said.

He, however, stated that some persons make “quite a plausible case” that marijuana below 15 grams (about half an ounce) smoked in the privacy of one’s home by persons 18 and older “is not something which is harmful”.

“Now, I am not going that distance; I am only talking on medicinal purposes. See, I know, as politician speaking about this matter, that people may say, ‘Why is Ralph troubling that? Why is the Prime Minister troubling that? He wants to get in trouble with people who have an absolute view on this.’

“All I am asking, let us have a discussion,” Gonsalves said.

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7 replies on “PM has no plan to pass medical marijuana law”

  1. Wonder if we also waiting on CARICOM before passing the long awaited Integrity Legislation……..what says you Peter?

  2. This is amusing: Ralph knows of several persons who use marijuana for medical reasons and he’s still saying they can be locked up. He is crazy and so is the damn law against weed. Why should these people suffer while the assholes in CARICOM sit wondering what to do? CARICOM isn’t working and people have to suffer and die before the do anything. Are those charged for using marijuana for medical purposes going to get a refund when the law is changed? Or will they paid for time spent in jail if things come to that?
    Ralph should put on hold, all charges against people using marijuana for medical purposes. Waiting for CARICOM governments to decide how to get piece of the action, while people are suffering is criminal. Most Caribbean governments benefit from the illegal marijuana trade by charging the traders when they are caught, over $10k, which has to be paid on the spot, and usually is. Now they want a piece of the medical marijuana action. They realize that many more people will use marijuana for medical reasons, because it’s easier to grow it, than to buy the expensive drugs at the pharmacy. People worldwide are living a much better life by using marijuana to cure their aches and pains. Why allow Vincentians to suffer any longer than is necessary.

  3. You require men of integrity to pass integrity legislation.

    Integrity = the quality of having strong moral principles

    Unfortunately, I firmly believe such people in general in the ULP, are few and far between.

    We will only get such legislation when this Marxist led government is replaced.

  4. Marijuana should be legalized whether or not it is used for medicinal purpose. People should be able to smoke it for stimulating the spiritual senses. They should be able to trade it like any other commodity. The government need to remove the stigma associated with the use of God holy herb. Take the pressure off the legal system benefit from this great blessing that our creator has given to us. It is not the people who are attached to marijuana that are the criminals but people like the Prime Minister who fly into the face of God to say that this thing that you give to us is no good and you are causing a lot of problems for us. The real problem is that all of CARICOM is in the pocket of the USA with the so called war on drugs. They are indebted to their masters because they have already taken the blood money and have to show that they are doing their job. This is one of the many ways that government debt can lead to the death of people in their country.

  5. Urlan Alexander says:

    The use of marijuana is illegal in SVG. Anyone who uses the drug is guilty of committing an offence. Yet it seems that law makers and practioners are knowingly allowing marijuana smokers to continue to break the laws here. Interestingly the minister of national security and PM of this country Dr. Ralph E Gonsalves knows people who are breaking the law and is keeping his mouth shut. Could you imagine that? How could this possible? in parliament he has made such claims and yet the DPP office and the Police department remains unfased about such reckless and insensitive disclosure. What a country!

  6. Watching Hard says:

    As usual all we ever do is talk. We in SVG are so slow to mobilise its a crying shame. While we are talking, a medical marijuana company has already launched a Jamaica. Must we always be twenty steps behind? How are we supposed to be competitive when we don’t have a clue how to be nimble? I suspect that by the time we finish all of this medical marijuana discussion we would have already missed the boat. Jamaica is certainly not waiting on CARICOM.

  7. I am told and I believe it to be true, that the complete decriminalisation of marijuana will be promised as part of the ULP election campaign.

    The ULP hope is that Rastafari and general users will be encouraged to vote ULP.

    If this is true we must ask, how far will they stoop.

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