[www.inewsguyana.com] – APNU+AFC Regional Member of Parliament, Michael Carrington is set to present a motion to the National Assembly, which if passed, would see radical reforms to marijuana laws.
Alliance For Change (AFC) Chairman, Nigel Hughes on Thursday, December 10 revealed that the Bill intends to strike out the provisions of the Narcotic Drug and Psychotropic Substances Control Act 1988 which mandate Magistrates to imprison any citizen of Guyana who confesses to or has been found guilty of possession of 15 grams or more of marijuana.
This is after Attorney General Basil Williams had cited the need for widespread consultations on the legalization of marijuana when questioned by reporters.
However, Hughes says the issue of the removal of the provisions of the Act which mandate the imprisonment of the citizens of this country for possession of small amounts of cannabis or cannabis resin is completely different in nature, intent and scope from that of the decriminalization of cannabis.
“The former is a simply a matter of whether in 2015 in a democratic society it is acceptable to imprison your citizens for three to five years for possession of 15 grams of cannabis, smoking cannabis or possession of smoking utensils for cannabis. It is an issue of proportionality of the punishment for a non violent self regarding act,” Hughes said in a Facebook post.
The AFC Chairman agreed that the decriminalization of marijuana is an issue on which there should be consultations.
“Our society will have to consider whether it would like to decriminalize cannabis but to continue to lock up and jail our citizens for three to five years for possession of a joint is cruel, excessive, unusual and inhumane treatment.”
Hughes also pointed out that convictions for more heinous offences do not carry mandatory sentences as such, the need for a mandatory sentence for marijuana should be revised.
“It is interesting to note that if you are accused of attempted murder, rape, pedophilia, felonious wounding, incest, corruption and fraud you are not subject to automatic statutory denial of bail and neither are you, on conviction, subject to mandatory minimum periods of imprisonment.”