Last Updated on Monday, 15 May 2017, 15:08 by Denis Chabrol
Former President Bharrat Jagdeo, today reiterated calls for decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana (cannabis sativa) and pointed to the fact, there are many young people across the country who have been jailed, while large scale dealers walk scot free.
Jagdeo was at the time addressing his party’s press engagement.
The former president was asked to give his views on the growing call for the decriminalizing of Hemp—a cannabis plant strain—for industrial purposes, but chose instead to address the matter of marijuana.
Jagdeo told media operatives when it comes to Hemp, the Peoples Progressive Party’s (PPP) position on marijuana is that the matter is up for a conscience vote in the National Assembly
The former president recalled that decriminalizing of small amounts of marijuana something his party campaigned for in the 2015 elections.
“We said to people, we would allow a conscious vote on our members,” according to Jagdeo, who in giving his support for the decriminalizing small amounts of ‘weed’ said, “we have seen cases where somebody has a tiny bit, one marijuana cigarette and gets sentenced for 3 years.”
According to Jagdeo, this obtains while large scale traffickers equipped with high powered attorneys manage to walk scot free. “We have a lot of people with money and with good legal representation and they don’t get any time,” he said.
“I will vote in favour of decriminalizing small quantities of marijuana,” he said, but stressed the caveat, not getting off scot free, by being sentenced instead to community service or rehabilitation.
”If it fails in Parliament then that’s fine,” he said.
On the matter of Hemp production in Guyana, the former President said there isn’t currently enough information available to the PPP, to take a firm position on its use for industrial or recreational purposes.
“Once that research is available we will look into it…on the other matter we put it in our manifesto.”
Governing Alliance For Change (AFC) parliamentarian, Michael Carrington’ draft law to soften penalties for the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use has been pending for more than one year now.