Regional Commission On Marijuana To Hold Consultations In Montserrat

The Regional Commission on Marijuana, established by CARICOM Heads of Government, will hold a number of focus groups with Youth, Faith-based organisations and special interest groups.

Regional Commission On Marijuana To Hold Consultations In Montserrat

Flashback to the first regional consultation held in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Head of Commission (5th from R) Prof. Rosemarie Belle-Antoine, members of the Commission w St. Vincent P.M. Hon. Ralph Gonsalves (6th from R) and CARICOM Secretariat Assistant Secretary General for Human and Social Development , Dr. Douglas Slater, in June 2016. Photo Credit: CARICOM Secretariat

Montserrat will host CARICOM’s Regional Commission on Marijuana on Tuesday, November 14 for national consultations surrounding the use of marijuana.

The consultations will be held by the Regional Commission on Marijuana and forms part of the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM’s) call for careful and in-depth research to inform decision-making on the issue of marijuana use.

The Regional Commission on Marijuana, established by CARICOM Heads of Government, will hold a number of focus groups with Youth, Faith-based organisations and special interest groups.  Additionally, a public Town Hall Meeting will be held at the Auditorium of the Montserrat Cultural Centre on Tuesday, November 14 at 6:00 p.m. to solicit the views and engender a discussion among the wider population.    

The Commission has indicated that, “The region-wide consultations are intended to obtain information on the social, economic, health and legal issues related to marijuana use in the Caribbean.” In addition, the Commission believes that such information would, among other outcomes, determine whether there should be a change in the current drug classification, modeled after the United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances; for which many, if not all, CARICOM members are party to.

Given that reclassification of the drug would make it legally accessible for all types of use, including religious, recreational, medical and research, the Regional Commission is expected to also provide recommendations on the legal and administrative conditions that will apply.

Arrangements for the National consultations are being led by the Office of the Premier. Honourable Premier, Donaldson Romeo, said that he welcomes the Commission’s work in Montserrat and anticipates a report that will have a positive outcome for the entire region, including Montserrat.

Premier Romeo has stated that for the past few years, there have been ongoing discussions on the use of marijuana and many countries have adopted new policies and laws based on extensive research and that Montserrat and the rest of the region must now participate in this level of investigation, in order to acquire evidence based recommendations.

In addition to national consultations, the Regional Marijuana Commission will undertake extensive secondary research to inform the preparation of reports to be submitted to the CARICOM Heads of Government for its consideration. 

To date, consultations have taken place in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados and Guyana.  National consultations will continue in Suriname, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Belize.

The Commission is headed by Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus, Professor Rose-Marie-Bell Antoine, and comprises practitioners with expert knowledge in a variety of disciplines including medicine and allied health, health research, law enforcement, ethics, education and anthropology/sociology/ culture.

For more information on the commission’s work visit http://caricom.org/marijuana-commission