Prime Minister, Dr. Timothy Harris, will, on Wednesday, table legislation, aimed at decriminalizing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, joining a number of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries that have done so, in recent months.
According to Caribbean Media Corporation, Dr. Harris will table the Cannabis Bill, 2020, which seeks to establish the Medicinal Cannabis Authority, “in order to provide for the lawful access to medicinal cannabis, as an alternative treatment, for persons, who are suffering from a qualifying medical condition”.
The legislation will also provide for a comprehensive licensing scheme, to regulate the cultivation, supply, possession, production and use of medicinal cannabis. It will also seek to establish a board, with responsibility for the policy, strategic direction and governance of the Authority.
In addition, the coalition Team Unity administration will also table the Drugs (Prevention and Abatement of the Misuse and Abuse of Drugs) (Amendment) Bill, 2020, which makes it a ticketable offence for possession of, up to 56 grams of cannabis, or up to 15 grams of cannabis resin.
Attorney General, Vincent Byron, will also move the second reading of the Criminal Records (Rehabilitation of Offenders) (Amendment) Bill, 2019, dealing with the expungement of records, for persons convicted for the possession of small amounts of marijuana.
The government said that the new legislation takes into account the unanimous recommendations of the National Marijuana Commission, which presented its report, after a near-two-year period.
Several Caribbean countries are debating the issue and the CARICOM Regional Commission on Marijuana in its report, submitted to regional governments in 2018, recommended the declassification of marijuana as a dangerous drug in all legislation and the reclassification of the drug as a controlled substance.