By Alexis R. Milan
The Decriminalization of Marijuana Committee (DOMC) released its first report containing eleven recommendations, including the decriminalization of up to 10 grams of marijuana. The recommendations are based on two years of data-gathering.
DOMC made its recommendations after consultations with both proponents and opponents of decriminalization. After reviewing its data and similar reports from Jamaica and Canada, DOMC made 11 recommendations, based on its findings.
Douglas Singh, DOMC chairman said DOMC knows that it would not be able to please everyone with its recommendations but the decision was made after much consideration and review of the feedback it had received.
The DOMC recommended to the government that it not be a criminal offense for anyone found in possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana and that there be an amendment to the “Misuse of Drugs Act” to remove the word cannabis as one of the listed substances.
The Committee also recommended that there be no incarceration for up to 10 grams and that instead, a ticket be issued to the person. That person would then be required to take a mandatory drug education class and face a fine of $15 per gram and be required to do community service, rehabilitation and treatment.
The DOMC also recommended that the charge for possession of a controlled substance be clearly classified as being over the 10 gram decriminalized limit but less than the 60 grams, which would constitute drug trafficking.
Another Committee recommendation was that private, personal use be limited to inside private residences and that usage be in no way of a reckless nature.
The Committee further recommended that the government revise sections of the law to remove any piece of legislation that may be in conflict with the recommendations of DOMC.
The Committee also advocated for the removal of a criminal penalty for the use of paraphernalia, including pipes and other products, in relation to the use of cannabis.
DOMC recommended drug education for pre natal and post natal care education. It also advocated for an extensive drug educational campaign to be undertaken by the government to sensitize and empower the public.
Finally the DOMC recommended that the government expunge the criminal records of all persons who have been found convicted of having ten or less grams of marijuana.
Last week Jamaica decriminalized up to two ounces or 60 grams of marijuana and allowed for the cultivation of five marijuana plans for recreational use.