ROSEAU –– Despite the controversy surrounding the issue of legalization of marijuana in Dominica, Parliamentary Representative for the Roseau Central Constituency, Joseph Isaac, has chimed in on the matter, stating that it is time for officials to seriously consider the decriminalizing marijuana.
“I would like us, as a country, to look at — and not just talk — to look at the decriminalization of marijuana in Dominica, through legislation. I think it is time,” Isaac said on Friday morning at the graduation ceremony of the Youth Development Division’s “Life Skills” programme.
He advised against ‘creating criminals’ out of the youth, as first-time offenders because of marijuana.
“I am saying that because… I think it is really, really bad for us to, for example, send a young man or woman to jail as a first-time offender because he/she has a spliff in his/her hand. I think we need to move beyond that,” he remarked. “And as a black culture, we need to really take that seriously, and not create criminals out of our young people.”
Isaac commented that in the short-term a policy should be written whereby the judicial system would consider suspended sentence on such offenders.
“I’m saying in short term, we could even look at a policy that could be written where we could ask the judicial system to consider a suspended sentence for anybody who is found with a small joint or a small spliff in their hand, where the suspended sentence would give a mandatory attachment in a special program of the Youth Division, for personal development,” he suggested.
Isaac expressed his willingness to “lead the mission” towards this objective and revealed that he has already discussed the idea with a member of Cabinet.
In 2012, Attorney General, Levi Peter, made it clear that the drug would not soon be legalized, stating that, “Marijuana will continue to be an illegal substance in Dominica in the foreseeable future.” Marijuana has been classified as a ‘Class B’ drug in Dominica meaning that it is illegal to possess, cultivate, or sell the substance.