Above: CARICOM headquarters in Guyana
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Should the Caribbean legalize marijuana? Should it decriminalize it? Should it maintain the current legal structure regarding its use?
That’s the question to be explored following a decision by CARICOM this week to mandate the formation of a regional commission to address issues relating to marijuana use, the regional bloc announced this week.
CARICOM Chairman and St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said this week’s CARICOM Conference of Heads of Government in St Vincent had included discussions on the marijuana issue, covering both its medical use and the decriminalization of small quantities for recreational use.
At a press conference, Gonsalves also said the group also explored the “economic benefits that might be derived from marijuana cultivation.”
Some concerns raised during the talks included “the repercussions that would come from legalizing or even decriminalizing marijuana,” according to a CARICOM statement, along with the potential public and mental health aspects of its use.
CARICOM said the group also recognized what it saw as the “need for careful in-depth research of the various implications of the measures complicated.”
The commission is expected to “address the issues identified along with any others deemed relevant in providing clear guidance for the tough decisions that will need to be made in relation to this matter,” according to CARICOM, with plans for a report to the regular meeting of the CARICOM Conference of Heads of Government in time for its next meeting in July.
“In relation to this issue we have obviously taken more than baby steps,” Gonsalves said. “We want the issue to be addressed in a serious, mature manner.”