The 10-member commission comprising of experts in the field of science, medicine, religion, law and social science undertook consultations in Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, The Bahamas, Guyana, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Suriname over the course of past two years.
The commission conducted “a rigorous enquiry into the social, economic, health and legal issues surrounding marijuana use in the Caribbean to determine whether there should be a change in the current drug classification of marijuana, thereby making the drug more accessible for all types of usage (religious, recreational, medical and research),” the status report noted.
The primary concern raised in the report is about the classification of Marijuana, which is restrictive per U.N. standards.
It indicates that since U.N. guidelines and the legislation on the United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances place Marijuana on the restrictive end at Schedule II — the most restrictive being Schedule I and the least restrictive being Schedule IV — it makes it difficult to access the drug for medical purposes since it is classified as a “dangerous drug” for which possession of any quantity is deemed as an offense.
“The main (issue under investigation is) the burden on the legal and judicial system, arising from possession of small quantities of marijuana and the lack of its availability and accessibility for medical, recreational and research purposes,” the report noted.
The Regional Marijuana Commission is expected to present its findings and recommendations at the 39th regular meeting of Caricom heads of government, which will be held this July in Jamaica.