by Linda Straker
- Marijuana Decriminalisation Committee comprises Peter David, Nickolas Steele and Dia Forrester
- Other Caricom members have already approved legislation
- Hope is that marijuana use for recreational purposes will be decriminalised and or legalised
A member of the Marijuana Decriminalisation Committee has confirmed that proposed legislation to the approach that Grenada will adopt to decriminalise the use of marijuana is presently before the Cabinet of Ministers for discussion, and the next step will be public consultation.
“The proposed legislation which will result in changes to our drug legislation is presently before the Cabinet, then it will be public consultation before going to the Houses of Parliament for approval,” said Agriculture Minister Peter David. David is a member of the 3-member committee tasked with coming up with the best way Grenada can enforce aspects of the Caricom Marijuana Commission Report. The other members are Health Minister Nickolas Steele and Attorney General Dia Forrester.
In December 2020, Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell in a public meeting said Grenada will develop its own model for cultivating, distribution, supplying and use of marijuana as it moves forward to enforce an aspect of Caricom’s Marijuana Commission Report. The hope is that marijuana use for recreational purposes will be decriminalised and or legalised.
“Just like alcohol, like cigarettes, marijuana days for decriminalising, for legalising is coming too. That is a fact. The question is how it is done; what extent we go in dealing with the law as it relates to that drug use is something that will come forward,” Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell said during the town hall meeting. Pointing out that other Caricom members like Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and Antigua and Barbuda have already approved legislation to decriminalise the use of marijuana, Dr Mitchell who is also the Minister for National Security said that “Grenada will be doing its own.”
A recent research study entitled ‘Marijuana Use Among Young Men in Grenada during the Covid-19 Pandemic’ revealed that 71 of the 96 respondents smoked marijuana, prior to 25 March 2020. Cannabis (marijuana) continues to be the main controlled drug consumed in Grenada. According to data from the Grenada Drug Epidemiology Network (GRENDEN), it was the most widely used and available drug in 2020. A fact sheet from GRENDEN in March 2021 said that in a survey conducted among 71 student-athletes in March 2020, twenty-four reported that they had used marijuana; this presents 34% of the athletes who participated in the survey. The average age of first use of marijuana use among the athletes was 14 years.
Marijuana according to GRENDEN is the main drug used by clients who sought treatment at the Rathdune Psychiatric Unit in 2020 for drug use; 94 of the 133 clients sought treatment due to problems associated with the use of marijuana and 35 of the young men who reported that they had smoked marijuana, were in the age group 17 to 21 years.
It is understood that once the law is changed for marijuana use, consideration will be given to protect persons who should not be exposed to second-hand smoke with laws for banning smoking in public.
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