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Caricom to set up commission to examine legalizing marijuana trade, use

A marijuana field in Guyana (file photo)

Leaders of the 15-nation Caribbean Community (Caricom) have decided to establish a commission to examine the pros and cons of legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use, the regional bloc said Wednesday.

In a communiqué released by Caricom’s Guyana-based headquarters, leaders said the Regional Commission would address issues and conduct careful in-depth research about the implications of decriminalizing some marijuana use.

The Commission, whose members are yet to be named, have been tasked with providing “clear guidance” about decisions to be taken.  

The Commission is expected to report to the next summit of Carcom leaders to be held in July 2014.  The decision to set up the commission followed intense discussions by Caribbean leaders on the thorny issue.

“They also explored the economic benefits that might be derived from marijuana cultivation. Concerns were raised, especially regarding the potential public and mental health aspects of its use,” said Caricom leaders at the end of their summit held in St.Vincent from March 10 to 11.

Individual Caricom member-nations are divided on legalizing marijuana use and cultivation, saying that it is responsible for a large percentage of mental health problems and crimes involving cultivators and smugglers.

 The Rastafarian community across the region has long called on Caribbean governments to legalise marijuana for religious use.