BVI News

Only fair! Gov’t introduces legislation to expunge criminal records of past cannabis users

Now that medical marijuana legislation has successfully passed through the House of Assembly, government is moving forward with its Drug Prevention & Misuse (Amendment) Act that, among other things, offers previously-convicted cannabis users an opportunity to have their criminal records expunged.

The amendment provides for the insertion of a new section — Sections 28(a) through to 28(e) — to the principal legislation; thereby allowing petitioners to apply for their convictions to be rescinded.

Part ‘A’ of Section 28 notes that the criminal record may not be expunged if the cannabis for which a person was charged or convicted is more than the amount defined in the legislation. That amount has not yet been specified.

Factors to be considered when deciding whether to expunge

According to Health Minister Carvin Malone, who gave a brief introduction to the amendment Tuesday night, Part ‘B’ speaks to the eligibility of expungement while 28(c) would provide the factors to be considered by local courts such as the petitioner’s age, their age at the time of the offence, the time that elapsed since the conviction, and the adverse consequences they would suffer if their application was denied.

He said Clause 28(d) would provide for expungement of a criminal record as well as all official records of arrest, pleas, trial conviction, and supervision of expungement. The final part to the amendment, 28(e), stipulates that no liability or legal action shall lie against the government by offenders who’ve had their records expunged.

Only fair to offer expungement

Malone said the purpose of the amendment is to bring fairness and balance between those who were penalised in the past for using cannabis for medical reasons and those future users who are now free to consume medical marijuana under the Cannabis Licensing Act that passed in the House late Tuesday night, June 30.

“It is not uncommon to find that persons who were held by the police with small quantities of cannabis plead that they may have acquired the cannabis for medical relief. They may have had glaucoma, migraines, or they may be a cancer patient who is dealing with pain from chemotherapy. These quantities and these reasons are in line with the very same conditions and situations that we are now seeking to decriminalize today,” Malone reasoned.

Disparity, criminal stain, and trouble getting a job

“You can also see a disparity created where, similarly, a person who has such as conviction on their record is walking around with a stain on their name. They cannot get a police certificate, [and] they are debarred from accessing certain opportunities such as a mere job. But someone else who commits the same act after the decriminalization takes effect does not face the same obstacles,” the minister further explained.

He continued: “This is why the fair thing to do is to level the playing field and to implement a mechanism that would remove that blemish and to remove any enormities whereby prosecutions may be taking place in the court for actions committed prior to the decriminalization, while no such actions would apply for the same activities after the law is passed. That, in simple terms, is the philosophy behind what we are trying to achieve.”

Importantly, the proposed amendment does not apply in circumstances in which the Director of Public Prosecutions determines that a person had intentions to supply cannabis to others.

Copyright 2020 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

23 Comments

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  1. Slippery Slope says:

    They’re heading on a dangerous path.

    Don’t think about bringing same sex marriage to our territory now.

    God is watching us including all who applaud sinful acts.

    Could be family or friend at the end of the day you’re either for God or satan….and stop thanking God for mess satan led you in. Blasphemy.

    Like 13
    Dislike 19
    • @Slippery Slope says:

      Do you live in the dark ages?

      You would be more suited to the Middle East with their blasphemy laws!

      Like 12
      Dislike 2
      • Allahn says:

        True. A crazed fundamentalist muslim is as crazy as a crazed fundamentalist christian.
        Think about that, all you christian warriors. It’s your certainty – and therefore intolerance of any alternatives – that makes you as dangerous as a jihadist, or any other religious zealot.

    • @Slippery Slope says:

      Start within the worship places. Biggest sets of hypocrites. They too state that God is a part of the wickedness they condone.Blasphemy indeed.

      They will all pay for they are destroying the lives of many by obstructing people to come to God because of the wickedness in these worship places. Set of murderers.

  2. pure assishness says:

    Since it is only a medical marijuana bill that was passed then why remove criminal records for recreational marijuana usage????????????????

    Like 22
    Dislike 4
  3. Hmm says:

    Well it really doesn’t pay to follow the law. Folks and profited around illegal deeds will now get a free pass. We might as well get a piece of the cake by engaging in illegal activities because it’ll be legal someday.

    Like 7
    Dislike 4
  4. hmm says:

    This is just wrong! Are you guys going to make guns legal to carry and then free everyone that shot someone. Really now how many persons in jail for drug charge was using it for medical purposes. Give me a break.

    Like 11
    Dislike 5
    • Wowowow says:

      Is your stupidity boundless? Comparing guns to marijuana? There are 1000 things that’s legal that’s deadly to humans, marijuana has never killed 1 human in history. Use your brains from time to time, it’s helpful.

    • The law says:

      It’s not illegal to have a gun if its registered

  5. Ausar says:

    You’re talking foolishness, “Slippery”!

    Many of you are already involved in same sex activities, licensing “legalese”, nothwithstanding!

    The measure is a great one, by the Premier, and should be in place, like already!!

    Like 4
    Dislike 2
  6. Love for my country says:

    What is this Government doing to our country? They ask for prayers but with the same mouth and hands ratify all the things God would frown on. It is shameful.

    Like 8
    Dislike 5
  7. Eagle eye says:

    All kinds of laws passing and a permanent premier still ain’t call yet.

    Like 1
    Dislike 3
  8. Wow says:

    An ju fie them have a hidden agenda, consult the people atleast stop rewarding criminals and the honest folks have to suffer #arm law abiding folks

    Like 2
    Dislike 2
  9. SMH says:

    Someone’s Comment brought me to this question? Is Recreational Marijuana also going to be Legal. I would assume having a small quantity in your Possession would not warrant being arrested. If so, then Officers needs to know what and how much that is.

    Like 6
    Dislike 1
  10. Sigh* says:

    The idiocy im reading above is disheartening! If you truly sleep better at night knowing someone who got caught with one dime bag or a joint of marijuana has a criminal record impeding their ability to among other things be gainfully employed you are more detrimental to the fabric of this society than any plant!

    No where did they say if you had a quantity of marijuana considered trafficing will your record be expunged. This legislation emancipates those caught with small amounts of herb that were lumped in with those caught with tons of it…read and understand you fools!!

    Like 6
    Dislike 1
  11. listen says:

    just as the people was warning ndp,so are they warning vip.in the end the people who are the ones that have the last say.

  12. Dying Laughing says:

    So they want to introduce a bill to expunge ppl charge for RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA USE… because of a MEDICAL MARIJUANA BILL…even tho RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA USE will still be ILLEGAL…

    Papur Jesus, lay meh dung…

  13. Dying Laughing says:

    And yess it RECREATIONAL cause there aint no doctors here writing presription for it, no medical dispensories, and no law that would allow any of that to be legally obtained from sources outside the BVI!

    Man can go in court and say anything, can’t believe thats what they tryna come with strupes

  14. Curious Joe says:

    Does anybody has a link to the ammended act that was finally approved? (there is a copy of the original one in the BVI Gazette)
    Also what is the legistative process after that until it becomes in effect?

  15. GTFOH says:

    I wonder if people realize that its only marijuana for medical purposes that is being legalized. Some people acting like the sky is falling. Smoking tobacco is legal and nobody is trying to get it banned. Tobacco and Alcohol are responsible for so many deaths and health issues and nobody is concerned because they are “legal” but marijuana seem to have this unfair stigma due to ignorance and a law making it illegal. All it took for something to go from a simple plant to a dangerous substance was a law. Right here in the BVI you can drink mushroom tea and get high as a kite and it’s not illegal. You can plant it, you can use it and nobody will bother you. The effects on the body are well known but the difference with the way people think about it vs marijuana is just the legality of its use.

  16. Helping the illiterati says:

    It clearly states above that this would only apply for convictions regarding amounts that would now be legal for personal, medicinal use. The traffickers won’t be eligible.

  17. Hmmm says:

    Let’s make cigarettes illegal

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