Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Moratorium on jail for ganja proposed

A moratorium on jailing persons for possession of marijuana is being proposed by the Cannabis Movement of Saint Lucia.

The disclosure has come from the Chairman of a newly appointed Steering Committee for the movement, Andre ‘Pancho” Decaires.

Decaires revealed that the moratorium proposal will be out before the Caricom Marijuana Commission, whenever it visits Saint Lucia.

The Commission was set up to investigate the social, economic, health and legal issues surrounding marijuana use in the Caribbean.

It has also been charged with determining whether there should be a change in the current drug classification of marijuana, and recommending if there is to be a re-classification.

The Commission’s first formal regional conversation around Marijuana in CARICOM  began in St. Vincent and the Grenadines earlier this month.

The Commission is expected to deliver its report to Caricom next month.

Andre Decaires believes that a change in the way marijuana possession and use are viewed would help reduce the backlog of cases in the criminal courts here.

“We believe that jailing people for marijuana is not the way to fight crime,” Decaires told the Times.

He asserted that legalization of cannabis could be crime fighting strategy.

He declared that with legalization, persons who are currently imprisoned would be set free because they have committed a “victimless”, non-violent “crime” and are no threat to the society.

“The backlog of cases would be significantly reduced because people will not have to go to court for ganja. They could be ticketed and taken to a lower court so as not to interfere with more serious crimes,” the Cannabis Movement official explained.

He was of the view that no one should be jailed for marijuana, regardless of the quantity.

“It is a stupid law,” he told the Times.

The comments of the Cannabis Movement official follow yesterday’s disclosure by the newly appointed Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Stephen Brette, that his office was fast tracking criminal cases in the courts to clear up a backlog.

According to information obtained by the Times, there was a backlog of some 1,900 cases on record in December last year.



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