AFC reiterates call for decriminalisation of small quantities of ganja

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The Alliance For Change (AFC) has expressed its outrage and “deep concern” following the three-year jail sentence imposed on a 27-year-old father and poultry farmer, Carl Mangal for the possession of eight grams of marijuana.

A statement from the AFC Tuesday evening renewed the party’s call for legislators “to move with alacrity in upgrading the laws of Guyana to ensure that custodial sentences for small quantities of marijuana are removed from the books in their entirety.”

The AFC made it clear that it is not questioning the decision of the Magistrate since the party recognizes that the Magistrate is constrained by the law which mandates custodial sentencing for possession of small quantities of marijuana.

“Custodial sentences serve, in large measure, to criminalize young people, particularly young men who have been caught with small quantities of marijuana – an offence which is a mere error in judgment and not representative of criminal behavior,” the AFC noted.

The statement reminded that AFC Member of Parliament Michael Carrington, since 2016, brought a bill to the National Assembly for debate “but it has since been languishing on the order paper, being deferred time and time again.”

“The time to act is now. We must no longer sit idly by and allow our young men and women to be sentenced to several years of jail time alongside hardened criminals, murderers and rapists. We will not be found complicit in destroying the lives of our young people and wounding our society rather than acting to heal it,” the AFC statement noted.

The AFC also announced that it will commence plans to host, in the near future, a national symposium on the issue at which all stakeholders and sectors of society will be invited to deliberate and exchange views.

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