EspañolThe twin-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda announced on Friday, May 8, the launch of a commission to oversee the process of decriminalizing the possession of small quantities of marijuana.
Social Transformation Minister Samantha Marshall is to head the five-member commission made up of both ruling party and opposition lawmakers, government spokesman Lionel Hurst told media following a cabinet meeting.
Hurst says the government wants to give young people with a criminal drug history a second chance.
“What we want to ensure is that a small mistake in your early life does not continue to plague the adult who is responsible and would not be involved in anything drug related,” he told Observer AM.
Hurst explained that drug charges can interfere with young people, especially men, getting college scholarships or visas.
The official cautioned, however, that this should not be considered a first step towards legalization, trade, or importation of marijuana, and pointed to the island of Jamaica as an example.
Marshall applauded the government’s decision for “breaking sensible ground” on the issue of marijuana possession.
“We have not banned alcohol or tobacco, even though it has been proven that they are more addictive than marijuana,” she said earlier this year. “My point is that we should stop criminalizing our own youth in order to march to the beat of some other country’s drum.”
Antigua and Barbuda could join Jamaica on the list of Caribbean islands that have relaxed their drug laws. Earlier this year, Kingston passed a law that made the possession of two ounces or less a minor misdemeanor and permits the cultivation of a maximum of five plants.
In recent years, Uruguay and several US states have led ongoing marijuana-legalization campaigns.
Source: Daily Observer.