By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.come] – The call for Central Government to amend the Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances legislation is increasing but the government is still unable say definitively what its stance on the issue is.
The push for marijuana reform was accentuated with the jailing of local football star, Vibert Butts. Butts is Guyana’s first World Cup football scorer and was sentenced to three years for possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking.
That sentence has since been appealed and bail granted for the football coach pending the outcome of the appeal. Alliance For Change (AFC) Chairman, Nigel Hughes had indicated that a petition was being compiled for the legislators to amend the law.
Hughes also drafted an amendment to the current legislation and urged that any lawmaker take it to the National Assembly for debate and possible approval.
APNU activist James Bond is also in support of marijuana reform. Via Facebook, the former Parliamentarian stated that “any Amendment Act to the Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances Act must include the deletion of the section that states smoking of cannabis carries a three year mandatory imprisonment.”
Speaking to media operatives at a press conference on Monday December 07, Legal Affairs Minister, Basil Williams said that any steps to reform the Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances Act would have to be done after broad consultation.
He said that government is unsure of just how many people in Guyana would like to see a relaxation of marijuana penalties and the possible legalization of the psychotropic substance.
“You believe that everybody in Guyana wants marijuana to be legalized? When the government takes the lead you accused the government of not being transparent- accuse the government of all sorts of things,” said Williams.
He added that the government wants the people to take the lead on this issue.
A group of persons on December 03 protested the office of Williams calling for the Government to immediately review the laws concerning marijuana.
While the group is not calling for immediate legalization of marijuana, it wants the government and judiciary to look at the punitive measures stipulated in the laws concerning marijuana.