Dominica Jumps On Ganja Boat

(CMC) — The Dominica Government said on Tuesday it would “forge ahead” with plans to decriminalise marijuana which it also views as a sector that could develop a revenue stream and provide for foreign exchange earnings.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said that there has been a global thrust in recent times to decriminalise certain aspects of marijuana possession, growth and ownership.

“This challenges views on the use of cannabis, and policies which align with emerging scientific research,” Skerrit said, recalling that last year he had informed legislators and the country at large that having regard to the empirical data, and the growing international importance of medical marijuana and the world trend of decriminalisation of marijuana for medical, religious and recreational use, that the Government should bring to the Parliament for consideration, legislation to decriminalise the possession of marijuana.

He said that in the manifesto of the ruling Dominica Labour Party (DLP) for the general election in December last year, “there was also a pledge to expunge the criminal records of all persons previously convicted for possessing a spliff or small quantities of marijuana that were clearly not for sale or trafficking and to halt prosecutions of persons found in possession of one ounce or less of marijuana for personal use”.

He said that a draft of the Drugs (Prevention of Misuse) (Amendment) Bill 2020 is being finalised and will be presented to Parliament at its next sitting.

“It will provide among other things, for the decriminalisation of possession of 28 grams of marijuana or less,” Skerrit said, adding that the Government “will forge ahead on the matter of developing a revenue stream, and foreign exchange earnings from a marijuana industry, and I will report further on this aspect of the policy in due course”.