ST GEORGE’S – The Grenada government on Wednesday said it would hold its final public consultation on the decriminalisation of marijuana on Friday as it moves ahead with plans to amend the existing Drug Act as part of the initiative.
“After this Friday we are going to go back to the Cabinet to indicate to the Cabinet what the response was,” Agriculture Minister Peter David told reporters at the weekly post Cabinet news conference.
“I think….there are different views to the legislation, I must say though we have not receive any negative responses on it and this points in a particular direction,” David said as he updated reporters on the bill which was laid in the House of Representatives for first reading in November 2021.
“So, I am going to go to the Cabinet next and indicate to the Cabinet the results of these consultations. We did have a round table with some of the stakeholders, so we have a pretty good picture now as to where our society is on this.
“So I think the next step is for Parliament to have the second reading, where we will deal with the matter there, finalise it there and then move it on to the senate and then all of the stakeholders in it put their mechanism in place,” said the Agriculture Minister.
The ruling New National Party (NNP) of Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell controls all 15 seats in the Parliament and prior to the legislation being tabled, the government had appointed a three-member committee whose task was to identify the best way Grenada can enforce aspects of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Marijuana Commission Report.
The committee comprised the Health Minister, Nickolas Steele; David and the Attorney General, Dia Forrester.
When he tabled the legislation last November, David said Grenada would not be focusing on the cultivation of cannabis as part of its initial approach but instead would adopt a strategy where the first step will be decriminalisation for personal and religious use.
“The first step is not going to be for mass production, the first step is going to deal with the criminal justice issue. Meaning there are many young people who have been criminalised or have received criminal records because of possession of small quantities. We are going to have a national discussion on small quantities.”
However, during the various consultations following the tabling of the Bill, several participants felt that Grenada needs to legalise marijuana for industrial and commercial use and not decriminalise only for religious and personal use.
In December 2020, Prime Minister Mitchell in a public meeting said Grenada will develop its own model for cultivating, distribution, supplying and use of marijuana as it moves forward to enforce an aspect of the CARICOM Marijuana Commission’s report. (CMC)