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Premier mulls review of ‘marijuana’ punishment

Not the marijuana farms mentioned in the story

Members of the British Virgin Islands government are engaged in discussions regarding a possible review of powers facilitating the imprisonment of persons for – among other things – smoking marijuana.

Premier Dr D Orlando Smith made the disclosure during a press briefing at his Road Town offices yesterday, but he noted that discussions surrounding the issue have not yet reached Cabinet.

Asked whether his government has any intention to legalize or decriminalize the use of marijuana, the territory’s political leader replied: “It’s not a topic for discussion in Cabinet at this time, but it is a topic for discussion among our members – you see the difference, right?”

“As we discuss it further, maybe there will be a time when there will be a Cabinet paper about it. But there has been discussion about that. For example, the question of persons who are incarcerated for just smoking a joint; that is something that’s actually being discussed,” Premier Smith further said.

In recent times, a number of countries – including some in the Caribbean – have decriminalized the use of marijuana, or have legalized its production for medicinal, religious, and pharmaceutical purposes.

Meanwhile, in November 2014, Premier Smith was asked if the BVI is also willing to take steps to cash in on the industries linked to marijuana production.

He, at the time, stated that further studies would have to be conducted before any decision is taken.

“Marijuana has been used for some time in certain aspects of medicine, particularly having to do with glaucoma, and it continues to be used as a prescribed medication,” Premier Smith explained back in 2014.

He added: “In many other areas, it is suggested that there are also some benefits, but these are benefits which have to be selected and carefully chosen, and I think that is something that we as a medical community would have to study carefully before we get around to using those in the community or in the hospital services.”

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7 Comments

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  1. Political Observer (PO) says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 2

    Though the VI have a lot of other critical and urgent issues on its plate, ie, rising violent and property crimes, inadequate medical services, unperforming educational system, anemic economic diversification, low job creation, demoralized civil service, questionable effective resource stewardship, skyrocketing cost of living, infrastructural issues……….etc, the discussion on decriminalization of marijuana use should moved forward with bud speed. Many of the larger countries that we like to benchmark have already acted on decriminalizing marijuana.

    The positives in decriminalizing marijuana use include 1)free up the RVIPF to deal with serious crimes, and 2)far more harm is cause by the criminalizing of marijuana use than buy the use of marijuana itself.

    In decriminalizing marijuna use, the record of persons convicted of marijuana use should be expunge.

  2. Truth says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

    Dr dolittle while you there thinking and playing around about the issue which is a real issue when you wake up you and your gang will be out of office, so word to the wise atleast start the process to decriminalize ganja and you will see

  3. Dick Blick says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

    So let me get this straight; things that are immediately beneficial ($$) to the selected few (BVI Airways, Protection of Sharks etc., NHI) are rushed through cabinet with much fervor and others such as this (revisions to NHI, Audited accounts, TPP Audit, HLSCC/schools falling apart, FOI, Data Protection Act, Health & Safety Legislation, Whistle Blowers Protection etc.) get lip-service and nothing more – well sah!

    When will these lot realize that WE the PEOPLE are no longer satisfied with their double-speak and lack of action where it comes to National issues.

    I guess when one of the billionaires decides to start a greenhouse or grow operation on their private island – we may then be able to use that as a precedent for US locals!

    Wishing I had moved to Colorado in the 90’s when I was living abroad – wouldn’t have been struggling now (might be a multi-millionaire in another man’s country!)

  4. maximus says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    an ayo cant get them solve yet

  5. Freedom! says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    I suspect Dick Blick might be using extra sensory perception on this issue.

    There could be a billionaire agitation and or rich business folks prodding our elected officials forward on this issue looking to get into that lucrative billion dollar market here.

    After all, we live in the prime temperate zone for such a business venture.

    No problem here, as long as government negotiates and reaps massive financial rewards from the venture.

    Medicine, schools, public services and infrastructure could benefit immensely from the proceeds that that trillion dollar industry produces annually.

    It would be foolish to continue to “exist” mentally, economically and politically in the puritanical era, though on too many issue the society still does.

  6. rastarite says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    The illegal activity of smoking weed is not taken very seriously in the BVI. Go to Cane Garden Bay any day of the week and you can get ganja and smell it being smoked.It’s time to Legalize it!!

  7. Sycorax says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    I guess someone needs to point out the obvious- Marijuana use is not going away.

    The rise in gang and gun violence in the VI has more to do with illegal drug importation and sales than anything else and ganja is used more than all other illegal drugs put together.

    Legalization & structure will modulate a lot of our growing violence.

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