by Donella Hosten
Attorney-at-Law Anselm Clouden has joined forces with some other like-minded individuals, and is calling on the Government to look seriously into decriminalising and legalising marijuana.
It is believed that medicinal marijuana has been beneficial to persons suffering from chronic illnesses such as diabetes, epilepsy, glaucoma, and cancer, just to name a few. However, in Grenada, as in most of the other Caribbean islands, marijuana in any form remains illegal.
At a press conference on Monday 8 December, Clouden said, “In the interest of social justice, our Government owes us a responsibility to make medicinal marijuana accessible.” He also believes that with the support of persons such as Tobias Clement, who is an elected representative in Parliament, “we can have legislation that would ensure the decriminalisation on one hand, and the legalisation for medicinal purposes on the other.”
Clouden has been advocating at least since the 1990s for the decriminalisation and legalisation of medicinal marijuana, and is of the firm belief that the “production of marijuana in Grenada for medicinal purposes and for export will put monies in the hands of ordinary Grenadians.”
The criminal lawyer posited that agriculture is on the decline in the country, and that young people are showing a lack of interest in the area because there is not sufficient income. Clouden believes that the decriminalisation of marijuana can, and will have economic benefits to Grenada.
According to Clouden, “social justice requires that Grenadians should have access to medicinal marijuana, as it is beneficial to those living with certain ailments.
He continued that with the legalisation of marijuana for medicinal purposes, decriminalisation should follow for small amounts of marijuana for personal use.
In recent times, this topic has caught the attention of a number of Caribbean leaders, including St Vincent’s Prime Minister, Dr Ralph Gonsalves, who has called on his counterparts to engage in a reasoned debate on the issue. However, the leaders have agreed that more research should be done on the medical and legal implications.
To date, Jamaica is the only Caribbean country that has decriminalised the usage and possession of up to 2 ounces of marijuana. The Jamaican Government is also looking into having kiosks set up at airports for tourists who are interested in purchasing small amounts of marijuana while visiting the island.
With Grenada’s General Elections around the corner, Clouden said, “we are going to start to have registers in different parishes, in different villages, manned by certain persons who share the view that this is good for them,” and they will be campaigning heavily for the legalisation and decriminalisation of marijuana.