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Speed Up Ganja Discussions - Chuck

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THE NEW Joint Select Committee that will consider the report of the
National Commission on Ganja met for the first time yesterday, but has
yet to begin deliberations on the recommendations put forward for the
legalisation of the drug.

Committee member Delroy Chuck said the group should push to complete
its examination of the Ganja Commission's report and submit its own
recommendations by the end of the year.

"We have been lagging with this since 1972...I don't want us to be
sitting on this next year; let us finish it this year," he said.

Mr. Chuck also suggested that after the committee meets with the Ganja
Commission at its next sitting in three weeks, the Joint Select
Committee should have only a few more meetings before the
recommendations are sent to Parliament for debate.

"Let there be as minimum deliberations as possible so that the
Parliament can get it and let the Parliament by whatever means make a
decision," he said. From November 200O to July 2001, and on the
request of the Prime Minister, the National Commission on Ganja
conducted "a period of exhaustive consultation and inquiry" on ganja
use. The consultation involved interviews with more than 350 persons,
including professional and influential leaders of society.

In its report, the Commission determined that the health hazards
associated with the drug did not substantiate the criminalisation of
"thousands of Jamaicans for using it in ways and with beliefs that are
deeply rooted in the culture of the people."

The Commission made seven reecommendations, including the amendment of
the relevant laws so that ganja be decriminalised for the private,
personal use of 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. The new committee is chaired
by Dr. Morais Guy, Government MP for Central St. Mary. It was preceded
by a joint select committee, in the previous Parliament, chaired by
then Government MP, Canute Brown.


Pubdate: Thu, 16 Oct 2003
Source: Jamaica Gleaner, The (Jamaica)
Copyright: 2003 The Gleaner Company Limited
Contact: feedback@jamaica-gleaner.com
Website: Jamaica Gleaner