Cabinet yet to consider decriminalising Marijuana

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Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams has disclosed that Cabinet is yet to consider the decriminalisation of marijuana and therefore the jury is still out on what route it will take on the issue.

The recently submitted report into the deadly 2016 prison riot, recommended the decriminalising of small amounts of marijuana to ease overcrowding at the prisons. Minister Williams during an interview with reporters on Wednesday, acknowledged the recommendation but said: “it is not a Cabinet recommendation.”

He said the government has only considered important points of the report but added that the administration is in receipt of information on marijuana use which paints a dismal picture.

Attorney General, Basil Williams

“We also have literature, I think it is from a United Nations survey about the pitfalls of marijuana use,” he told reporters.

On Monday, the Regional Commission on Marijuana met with local stakeholders who all lobbied for the substance to be legalised or decriminalised.

The Attorney General disclosed that a meeting was held with the Rastafarian community in the past and they requested the freedom to walk around with 53 grams of marijuana.

He speculated that “I suppose if we say yes to that, they will probably increase it to ounces…the jury is still out. Cabinet hasn’t discussed it.”

During the regional public consultation, the representatives of various focus groups alluded to the mandated 3-year sentence associated with the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

It was pointed out that the laws on marijuana lead to the criminalisation of not only Guyanese but Caribbean people. Advocates are calling for the Narcotics Drug and Psychotropic Substances (Control) Amendment Bill 2015 to be passed in the National Assembly as it is yet to be debated since being tabled over a year ago.

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