By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] – A Partnership For National Unity (APNU) has not shut out the possibility of legalizing marijuana and will be looking to convene a research panel into the issue once it is voted into government.
This is according to the coalition’s General Secretary, Joseph Harmon who told reporters on Friday, February 06 that the existing legislation surrounding the use of marijuana needs to be reviewed.
Harmon said that at present, such a move would be imperative given that many young men are behind bars for possession of small amounts of marijuana and this should not be.
In that regard, he said that the partnership is “committed to reviewing the law and these offences and the way they are dealt with by Magistrates.”
The General Secretary noted that the world is moving in a certain direction whereby several States have taken steps to decriminalize marijuana and Guyana should not be left behind.
“The world is moving in a certain direction and we need to take cognizance of certain world trends” he said.
He said that APNU would be willing to commission a study on the ramifications of partially legalizing or completely legalizing the use of marijuana. He said that an APNU government would be advised on what steps to take by the Commission.
“We are committing to a review of the law as it relates to the use and sentencing policy or marijuana” noted Harmon making it clear that the coalition will not take the same steps that has been adopted by the People’s Progressive Party/Civic administration.
The PPP/C administration has made it clear in the past that it will not be taking any steps towards the legalization of marijuana in Guyana.
In Guyana’s sister CARICOM country, Jamaica, the government has already convened a panel to discuss the issue and is now making steps to legalize possession of marijuana in small amounts.
Additionally, some countries around the world have taken steps to completely decriminalize the use of the plant, while some have said it can only be used for medical purposes.
In June 2014, a Poll conducted by iNews revealed that the majority of people are in favour of Guyana legalizing marijuana for medical and cultural purposes.