A report compiled by the CARICOM Regional Commission on Marijuana has suggested governments, which form part of the organization, consider completely dismantling the infrastructure for the prohibition of marijuana within the region.
The report, which will be reviewed by heads of government at the 39th Regular Meeting of the regional body in Jamacia from July 4-6, highlights the high cost of prohibition as one of the key factors for the proposal.
The commission, which comprises of professionals from diverse fields, like law, ethics, sociology, psychiatry, medicine, social research, and criminology, pointed out that the local authorities need to introduce a strictly regulated framework for marijuana similar to that for alcohol and tobacco. Alcohol and tobacco are harmful substances that are not criminalized in Caricom states.
"The commission is unanimous in its view that the current classification for cannabis/ marijuana as a ‘dangerous drug’ with ‘no value’ or narcotic should be changed to a classification of legal cannabis as a ‘controlled substance’," the report stated.
The report also clarified that provisions to protect children and young adults from possible adverse effects of cannabis must be introduced and that marijuana use in public spaces should be banned.
Using Jamaica as a reference point, where the Government amended the Dangerous Drugs Act in 2015 effectively decriminalising the use of two ounces, or less, of ganja, a common name for the substance in the region, the commission pointed out that it would allow for a scheme of licences, permits, and other authorisations that enable the establishment of a lawful, regulated industry for ganja for medical, therapeutic, and scientific purposes.
The Regional Marijuana Commission will also "conduct a rigorous enquiry into the social, economic, health and legal issues surrounding marijuana use in the Caribbean and to determine whether there should be a change in the current drug classification of marijuana, thereby making the drug more accessible for all types of usage (religious, recreational, medical and research)."
The conference will be held in Montego Bay, St James, from July 4 until July 6.