Gonsalves wants talks on marijuana

sherieholder, sherieholder@nationnews.com

Added 10 September 2013

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KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Sept 10, CMC – Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has written to the chair of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping calling for a discussion on the medicinal and other uses of marijuana. In his letter to Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar, who is also the Trinidad and Tobago head of government, Gonsalves said it is high time that CARICOM addresses regionally “this matter in a sensible focus not hysterical manner”. Prime Minister Gonsalves said that the marijuana plant has a bundle of proven and potentially beneficial uses and while it is true that its use and abuse and the consequential criminalisation of its cultivation, possession and supply have impacted on the health, welfare and security of the people. Gonsalves in his letter made a plea for “a reasoned debate” led by CARICOM political and civic leadership in the context of the legislation of marijuana. He said the matter should be explored at the next meeting of the Bureau of CARICOM leaders scheduled for Trinidad on September 13. The letter added that preparatory work can possibly be done so as to place the matter in the agenda of the CARICOM Inter-Sessional summit to be held here in February next year. Prime Minister Gonsalves said the general public disappointed with “the failure and or refusal of the political and civic leadership in CARICOM to jettison it or unnecessary caution and lethargy in addressing some of the controversial contemporary issues of real import”. Distinguished Caribbean professionals including Jamaican chemist and cancer researcher, Dr. Henry Lowe have been urging the use of marijuana product for  a range of medical purposes. Earlier this month, Dr. Lowe, speaking at a forum organised by the Jamaica Gleaner newspaper, spoke of how he was discouraged from pursuing work on the medicinal properties of the weed several years ago. Lorne suggested that local politicians tended to wilt under the glare of the United States (US). "As a consequence of the US wielding that big stick over our head, our politicians are in fear," he told the forum.    

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