Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves is not worried that the marijuana lobby in St. Vincent and the Grenadines would pressure his government for full-scale decriminalisation.
The CARICOM Marijuana Commission, in its reports presented to regional leaders this month, urged the full decriminalisation of marijuana, with regulatory provisions similar to alcohol.
But Gonsalves told reporters last Thursday in Chauncey that his government plans to decriminalise marijuana use for medicinal and religious purposes, but not for recreational use.
“I just did a poll and 62 per cent of the people don’t want it to be decriminalised for recreational purposes. And 66 per cent support the decriminalisation for medicinal purposes. There are a lot of people, quietly, privately who don’t support decriminalisation.”
He said he knows that there are also a lot of people who quietly and privately smoke marijuana.
“But the number, what it means is that you have 30-odd per cent who would say yes, which is a significant number. So you have a number of people who smoke it.”
The prime minister was unable to say, off hand, what was the disaggregation in terms of age, among those who oppose the decriminalisation of marijuana.
“So what we are doing is decriminalising, legalising for the purposes of the industry and we have a good bill, which is going to be published shortly and then there would be discussion on it, obviously.
“And secondly, for registered tabernacles, you smoke it for religious purposes. I am not naïve. I expect that some persons would become temporary Rastafari in order to go into the tabernacle and smoke it.”
The law would not make provisions for religious meetings taking place in private homes, the prime minister said.
“This is at registered tabernacles and the provision, with the agreement of the police, in fact, the suggestion of the police, sometimes, people may have a religious ceremony — and it be Rastafari now, it may be Hindus tomorrow — you have a ceremony and you just notify the police, give them notice that you are going to have this thing and then they would allow for you to have your activity.”
Gonsalves said that his government will also offer a “traditional cultivators licence”, which will be easier to get than if you have a bigger kind of investment and you will see the conditions that will be attached to that. That will make it easier for persons to engage in traditional cultivation legally.”
He said one of the conditions is for the applicant to show the authorities that he or she is growing marijuana because they have a contract either with a tabernacle or with a laboratory and selling it to them.
“So all those things are thought out. So, obviously, for the traditional cultivators licence, you will have to give an amnesty for what they have currently in the ground,” the prime minister said.
Dr. Gonsalves is well aware that the current criminalization of weed is one of the leading causes of murder and other crimes in SVG but is ignoring that elementary fact for self-serving political polling reasons.
Better a bunch of young black men shot dead than a bunch of lost votes at the polls.
As for medical marijuana, we are at the back of the global pack and will never catch up enough to make any money.
Ben that’s utter rubbish, decriminalization of cannabis will not solve ou crime problem , it will make the matter worse.
Every time, in human history, when some substance or the other has a been criminalized, illegal activity — including murder — around the production, distribution, and consumption of that substance has skyrocketed, the best example being the outlawing of alcohol in the United States (Prohibition) between 1919-1933 which even saw the death of 100’s of people who expired after drinking poisonous “home brew.”
Jose, you need to education yourself a little before insulting other people and making yourself look like an ignorant jack*ss (https://object.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa157.pdf).
As Ben said, do your research.
Ha Ha ha! Our comrade Rasta sorry I meant PM, really have this ganga thing sorted out nah? Ras, you can’t get better that that. ‘…Ganga for religious purposes’? Wow! Sign I man up…
“Better [is] a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith”. Proverbs 15:17.
I man need to know when is spliffing time. Is it going to be before or after the sermon or during…? I need to be uplifted… Praise the Lodi and pass de spliffee I…Loving it! SVG, the bestis in de westis.
Most Vincentians don’t know @#%%&** bout Jah herb…
Way to go PM! Decriminalization soon come round de bend.
Personally I think Dr. Gonsalves is losing his marbles and he is just toying with the People’s mind. If Antigua and Jamaica along with other countries can do it, then what is wrong with us.
Personally this is another election ploy by the prime minister. How and why in jahs name that we are still having our marijuana being destroyed by America and other entities, when in there own backyard they’re cultivating it and selling it to the masses and making millions annually. They say they are allowing it in their country for medicinal purposes, then why not show us how to do the same instead of burning our crops down. Right now the plan in bigger countries is to run a monopoly on the marijuana and ensure that prescription companies can grow the drug on large scale and be the sole suppliers and distributors. It’s all about tax at the end of the day. We are so far behind that when or if it is legalise, the value would be for nought. Think back about our greeen gold banana. Once again it’s left for the common man to struggle while the big cats line their pockets….it’s a damn shame in today’s day and age we are still being handheld and lead because we still can’t think for ourselves and implement our own policies….. we are scared of pissing off aunty Dora Andy Uncle Sam….revolution im the air..
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