(CMC)— The Dominica parliament on Monday night approved the amendment to the Drugs Prevention Misuse Act even as government legislators urged that the passage of the bill should not be viewed as an opportunity for celebration and the excessive use of marijuana and its by-products.
The amended legislation now allows for people over the age of 18 to be in possession of 28 grams of marijuana and National Security Minister Rayburn Blackmoore, who piloted the measure, said “there is a different view today than yesterday for persons who actually possess small quantities of marijuana for personal, religious use.
“We are therefore taking a further approach towards decriminalising a small quantity of marijuana, to expunge the records of persons in respect of possession of 28 grammes,” Blackmoore said, “stressing however that there is a common misconception that cannabis should not be decriminalised entirely without some measure of restrictions being imposed”.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said given the changing environment, globally, marijuana is not been seen as an illegal plant and is now being traded worldwide.
He said with respect to marijuana being used for medicinal purposes and legalising it, “there are a number of variables that one has to consider once you move towards this and so no one country can do it on its own floxin pris.
“Countries have gone ahead and passed legislation and so forth, it is going to be difficult if we here in Dominica say it is legal here for medicinal purposes but we are between two European territories- Martinique and Guadeloupe-…and there are all sets of implications,” Skerrit said, noting that the developed countries could try to find “ways of restricting us so that they can take advantage of what we have.
“You are going to have big companies that will find ways of manipulating the …processes involved with regards to marijuana,” Skerrit said, describing the passage of the amendment legislation as “an important day for us “ but not one to gloat over.
Dominica has now joined several other Caribbean Community (Caricom) countries, most notably, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Antigua and Barbuda as well as St Vincent and the Grenadines that have in the past amended existing legislation relating to the use of marijuana.