CARICOM will debate Marijuana Legalization

CARICOM to debate marijuana legalization

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders agreed to establish a Commission to study the decriminalisation of marijuana for medicinal purposes on Thursday July 3, 2014 when they met in Antigua.

Irwin La Rocque, the CARICOM Secretary General,  told reporters that: “The objective of such a Commission on marijuana is to conduct an inquiry into the social, economic, health and legal issues surrounding marijuana use in the Caribbean.”

CARICOM's decision follows the recent action of member nation Jamaica's Government to support a proposal to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana for religious, medicinal and scientific purposes.

Subsequently, two influential drug policy groups in the United States supported the Caribbean Community's (CARICOM)'s decision to establish a Regional Marijuana Commission.

Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), a leading organisation that promotes drug policies that are "grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights said: "It's great that governments in the Caribbean are finally pushing forward with this dialogue."  

Nadelmann reportedly said that given the momentum for reform in both North and South America, it is crucially important that the Caribbean not be left on the sidelines.

Vincentian-born director of communications at the Institute of the Black World 21st Center Dan Rojas also pledged support for the CARICOM initiative, "recognising that it is a logical and enlightened move towards decriminalising the possession and use of small amounts of marijuana and an important step towards researching the economic potential of a regulated medical marijuana industry in the Caribbean."