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Ganja advocates demand gov't develops 12-point plan for the industry

Published:Sunday | May 25, 2014 | 12:22 PM

Ganja stakeholders have stepped up their advocacy for the decriminalisation of the weed and have given the Government 120 days to develop a 12-point plan to reform the industry.



Emerging from the first Cannabis Conference held at the University of the West Indies last week, stakeholders have called for the criminal records of persons convicted for smoking small amounts of ganja to be expunged. They are also calling for the laws to be amended to allow for the personal use of small amounts of ganja in private.



In addition, the group of stakeholders says Government should recognise the religious rights of Rastafarians to use ganja for worship and sacramental purposes.



But while they want ganja to be decriminalised for personal use by adults and for religious purposes, the advocates say Government must maintain its ban on the smoking of all substances in public and must put in place safeguards and education programmes to reduce juvenile use and demand for ganja.



The stakeholders also want policies to be implemented to regulate the medical cannabis industry and stricter penalties for the illegal exportation of ganja.



They say a policy mechanism should also be in place to protect small and traditional cultivators for a minimum period of three years, in addition to other policies and reform actions to encourage control, protection and public education.



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