Progress on reforming marijuana legislation
Jan 29, 2021
Kaieteur News – Yesterday’s debate in parliament on a proposed reform of marijuana legislation, if nothing else, a circus of deliberate cognitive dissonance on the part of the political opposition that proposed the reform bill in question, one that fortunately ended with the passage of the proposed bill etc. government sends itself to the Special Committee where, hopefully, it will not lapse indefinitely.
That parliamentary incumbent, Sherod Duncan was specifically chosen to promote the torture reform bill, is clearly part of what has proven to be a more manic stagecraft on the part of a political opposition that is still trying to dig itself out and re – branding after his failed attempt to rig the Elections 2020. The idea here is that, without being a member of parliament under the Granger presidency, Duncan would somehow be free of the failed baggage of that administration that was deliberately curated to do the what he gestures to do now.
When opposition Member of Parliament Jermaine Figuiera – who actually served under the previous administration – said in his presentation, “To do anything about using cannabis in the 21st century is to shoot yourself in the foot”, he could have been read the government imprint he was part of, which promised to amend marijuana legislation and then went on to do nothing before being voted out of office after one term. By the time the CARICOM 2018 report on much-cited marijuana in yesterday’s case came out, in other jurisdictions, the cases for legalization, decriminalization and removal of custodial sentences had not only been made but the reality of regulation and commercialization in progress. The only thing that was consistent in the way to move forward here is the former President’s contempt for genuine reform, despite promises to do so.
It was ridiculous therefore that the Parliamentary list led by Granger would swing from refusing to move forward on one of his own senator’s proposals in executive management and a parliamentary majority to table the same proposal while in minority opposition and increasing the threshold for possession of non-imprisonment marijuana at 500 grams, or 1.1 lbs. For comparison, consider that even the most liberal jurisdictions limit their thresholds to an average of 56 grams with New York for example allowing up to 2 ounces (56.699 grams) without custodial sentencing. In New York, someone with a ridiculous offer of a pound of weed in the coalition would see a jail time of four years, or just a year short of the mandatory three-year prison term that far outweighed sums for the whole five years that David Granger was president, when many young people were sent to prison even though the global tide against marijuana use had changed by then.
This clearly shows that the proposed opposition reform bill was a games bill, a farce that was to distract and detract from a political victory by the current government because of an unintentional, deliberate error on its part. Of course, political parties are allowed to participate in theater to further their interests and undermine their opponents but there should be restrictions, especially when ordinary citizens’ lives are involved. What’s even more frivolous is that Granger, the person responsible for completely blocking progress on this issue for five years because of his own old-fashioned and banal worldview, is the key author of this farce whatever bunker he has been hiding in since the last failure. from its coup attempt in August last year. The least he could do is emerge to provide some logic as to why the list under his leadership and management pretends to do the opposite of his government’s de facto stance.
Going forward, after a government bill has been sent to a special committee, what is needed is a two-pronged discussion and debate on this critical piece of legislation, one that goes beyond social justice, public health , human rights and cultural considerations. This is a first step, one in line with what the Minister for Culture, Youth and Sport referred to – Charles Ramson in his presentation, in his presentation as a process of “phasing” in legislative reform, not the end of the journey itself.