AFC gets APNU support to reduce sentencing for Ganja possession

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After languishing on the order paper for close to two years, the Alliance For Change (AFC) Wednesday announced that it has received the support of its Coalition partner, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) to reduce the three years mandatory sentence for possession of small amounts of Marijuana.

This announcement was made by AFC Vice Chair, Cathy Hughes during a Press Conference.

“There is a pending Cabinet memo whereby we recognize that the APNU has now come on board and is supporting our position regarding the reducing the penalty with regards to Marijuana and the possession issue,” Minister Hughes told the media.

AFC’s Member of Parliament, Michael Carrington first proposed amendments to the 1988 Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances Act in 2016 but APNU asked to “hold off” on the bill.

The call was renewed in May of this year when a 27-year-old father and poultry farmer was sentenced to three years in prison for the possession of eight grams of marijuana. He was eventually released.

AFC Leader, Raphael Trotman said this agreement between the two parties will see the Amendments being adopted before the end of 2018.

“We are going to reduce the sentences so that little, young people are not incarcerated for three years for a joint. This is totally different from decriminalization but families are being ruined, lives are being ruined,” Trotman noted.

“We’re not saying it’s right but don’t kill people’s dreams because of a lil error,” the AFC Leader added.

However, Minister of State Joseph Harmon told News Room that the decision on the way forward will be taken after a review of a report from CARICOM and a report from the Ministry of Public Health.

President David Granger at the sidelines of this year’s CARICOM Heads of Government meeting told the media that Custodial sentences for the possession of small amounts of marijuana in Guyana are likely to be removed soon.

The President’s comment came at a time when CARICOM Heads were considering the report of the Regional Commission on Marijuana, which, to a large extent, calls for the decriminalization of the substance.

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