Chiming in on the highly controversial topic of the legalization of marijuana in Dominica, Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, has said that a structured approach will be taken to discussing the issue of medical marijuana in 2017.
Speaking on Kairi’s ‘Real Talk’ program, on Wednesday, Skerrit explained that the topic must be discussed in a focused and informed manner, in order to take full advantage of the use of the herb, which many have sworn has saved their lives.
“We have started the conversation. I think we maybe need to put a better structure in place where we can have a more structured, informed dialogue or discussion on medical marijuana, to see how we can take advantage of this. I think in the new year you will see a more focused, more structured approach to the discussion…” he expressed. “I think that if there is a plant in our country which people are swearing by as having saved their lives or assisted them in reducing the pain or managing their ailment, then I think it is important for there to be a very serious discussion about it, and to see how we can go about taking advantage of this development.”
He suggested that Dominica could adopt and tweak measures from other countries who have been successful in the use of medical marijuana.
The Prime Minister stated that while the government is not opposed to the eventual legalization of the herb, several things must be carefully considered before such a decision is brought forward.
“It is not something that we are opposed to, but it has to be in a very structured and focused manner—rather than just legalizing the herb. I don’t think that is the approach that we should take to the discussion…” he stated.
Skerrit said that very serious discussions must take place, before letting “the country decide, at an appropriate time, how we proceed with addressing the issue of marijuana for medicinal purposes.”
The issue of marijuana legalization has been heavily discussed in Dominica.
In July, Parliamentary Representative for the Roseau Central Constituency, Joseph Isaac stated that it was time for officials to seriously consider the decriminalization of marijuana, and expressed his willingness to “lead the mission” towards this objective.
In 2012, Attorney General, Levi Peter, made it clear that the drug would not soon be legalized, stating that, “Marijuana will continue to be an illegal substance in Dominica in the foreseeable future.”
Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, in 2014, revealed plans to review and perhaps alter Dominica’s marijuana laws, with the view to lifting some restrictions. However, he emphasized that the government was not prepared to lift the ban on the use of the herb completely.
Marijuana has been classified as a ‘Class B’ drug in Dominica meaning that it is illegal to possess, cultivate, or sell the substance.