Laws which impose a judicial sentence for the possession of small quantities of marijuana could soon be struck down, President David Granger has announced.
The President made this announcement on Thursday on the sidelines of the 39th meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government (HOG) of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
According to the President, “the matter has not been finally settled by Cabinet but what I will say is that we are moving towards the removal of custodial sentences for the possession of small amounts of marijuana.”
His announcement comes at a time when the CARICOM Regional Commission on Marijuana 2018 has recommended the decriminalisation of marijuana across member-states. The report is one of the scheduled items to be discussed at the CARICOM meeting.
In its report, the CARICOM Commission argued that a strictly regulated framework for marijuana should be introduced.
“The commission is unanimous in its view that the current classification for cannabis/ marijuana as a ‘dangerous drug’ with ‘no value’ or narcotic should be changed to a classification of legal cannabis as a ‘controlled substance’,” the report stated.
Possession and consumption of marijuana in Guyana are still illegal acts and carry a minimum sentence of three years imprisonment. But those laws have been described as “archaic”.
However, President Granger noted that while government is moving in the direction of removing custodial sentences, industrialization of marijuana is off the books.
“We are not moving towards encouraging the industrialization of marijuana. I think that is a little premature within the context of Guyana,” he said, outlining the challenges Guyana face in comparison to other Caribbean island-states. Among these, he explained, are enforcement and challenges in controlling Guyana’s land space which is much bigger than its regional counterparts.
(by Ravin Singh)