Saturday 20 October, 2018

Marijuana decriminalization on the horizon?

Another shot at decriminalizing marijuana has been taken, and taken in a big way.

And while it is unclear that the shot taken will bear fruit, the forum at which the shot was taken guarantees consideration of the proposal by the highest political authority in the land.

The forum in question is non-other than last month’s crime symposium where the decriminalization of marijuana as a crime-fighting initiative in St. Lucia was presented as a recommendation to lowering crime in the country.

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Decriminalizing the smoking or carrying of a small quantity of the plant has been an ongoing cry of marijuana advocates for some time now. With the staging of the symposium in the conference room of the Ministry of Infrastructure, those clamouring for decriminalization took the opportunity make their case.

And made it they did to the point that the subject was discussed at group level during the symposium. In fact the group stated that marijuana decriminalization would ease up the court system; help with the overcrowding situation at the Bordelais Correctional Facility; and improve police operations by enabling highly trained police officers, who would otherwise be in the hills cutting marijuana trees, to focus on real crime such as rape, murder, robbery and grievous bodily harm.

The group also pointed out that decriminalizing the use of marijuana would improve the perception of the police in the eyes of the public as the 40,000 marijuana smokers in the country would no longer regard the police as enemies.

The group also stated that the legalization of marijuana would have economic benefits as persons could get involved in the lawful cultivation of the plant.

The chances that marijuana legalization, up to a point, would be considered at the highest level of government are high since National Security and Home Affairs Minister Hermangild Francis had promised that all recommendations coming out of the symposium would be taken to the Cabinet of Ministers for review.