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Ganja Still On Parliament's Cutting Board


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A NEW Parliament may determine whether persons such as Rastafarians, who use ganja in small quantities, will be allowed to continue doing so without sanction.

Dr. Morais Guy, who headed the joint select parliamentary committee that debated the recommendations of the Professor Barry Chevannes-headed National Commission on Ganja report, said yesterday that it is unlikely that the resolution, which has been sitting on the table of Parliament since 2004, will be debated before the life of this Parliament expires.

"It was anticipated that we would have been able to do something this financial year in terms of the debate but, the way things are, it would have to take place after the Sectoral Debates are completed," Dr. Guy told The Gleaner yesterday.

The Sectoral Debate is the platform from which parliamentarians and government ministers speak about issues, particularly those affecting their constituencies. It starts tomorrow and could last for several months.

However, mindful that a general election is constitutionally due by November, Dr. Guy told The Gleaner that when the bill is debated it is possible that a new Parliament will be sitting.

"It seems that we may not be able to debate it in this current session of Parliament, but certainly it will be debated before the opening of the Financial Year 2008/2009," Dr. Guy said.

The commission made seven recommendations, including the amendment of the relevant laws so that ganja be decriminalised for the private, personal use in specific quantities by adults, as well as for use as a sacrament for religious purposes.

It was also recommended that a cannabis research agency be set up to coordinate research into all aspects of cannabis, including its epidemiological, and psychological effects, as well as, its pharmacological and economic potential.

On the weekend, Dr. Henry Lowe, a proponent for the decriminalisation of the weed, said the time has come for more research to be done on the medicinal properties of ganja.

Before decriminalisation of ganja can take place in any form, both Houses of Parliament - the House of Representative and the Senate - must approve the act and then the Governor-General must sign it into law. Until this is done, the use of ganja, in any form, by anyone, remains a criminal act.

Newshawk: CoZmO - 420Magazine.com
Source: Jamaica Gleaner
Author: Daraine Luton
Contact: daraine.luton@gleanerjm.com
Copyright: 2007 Gleaner Company Ltd.
Website: Jamaica Gleaner News - Tuesday | May 29, 2007
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