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Grenada ministers to discuss decriminalisation of marijuana


Grenada ministers to discuss decriminalisation of marijuana
Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell. (FILE)

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St Georges – A member of Grenada’s Marijuana Decriminalisation Committee has confirmed that proposed legislation looking towards the approach to be taken by the country  concerning decriminalising 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,” said Minister of Agriculture Minister Peter David, who is on the three-member committee tasked with coming up with the best way Grenada can enforce aspects of Caricom’s Marijuana commission report.

The other members are Minister of Health Nickolas Steele and the 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 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 cigarette, 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,” Mitchell said.

Pointing out that other Caribbean community (CARICOM) member states such as Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and Antigua and Barbuda have already approved legislation to decriminalise the use of marijuana,

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 March 25, 2020.

According to data from the Grenada Drug Epidemiology Network (GRENDEN), marijuana continues to be the main controlled drug consumed in Grenada.

A fact sheet from GRENDEN in March 2021 said that in a survey conducted among 71 student-athletes in March 2020, twenty-four (24) 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 GRENDEC 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’s 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. (CMC)