Dominica seeking Israel to help CARICOM on marijuana decriminalization

Dominica Wednesday called on Israel to assist the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) with research on marijuana as the region contemplates the decriminalization of the drug for medicinal and other purposes.

President Charles Savarin said there have been calls in the region from various stakeholders for legalizing marijuana for various uses.

“In response of these calls the CARICOM heads of government mandated the establishment of a Commission to undertake national consultations in member states to harness the views of the public across the CARICOM region,” Savarin said as he accepted the credentials of the new Israeli ambassador to Dominica, Danny Biran Bayor.

Consultations begin in Dominica

Savarin said the national consultation has started in Dominica here “and it is hoped that the CARICOM public will favor an approach that is grounded in comprehensive research, objective and honest evaluation”.

Israel has successful cannabis program

Savarin said he has taken note of the fact that Israel holds the distinction “of having a most advanced and most successful cannabis program in the world”.

He said the cannabis is used to treat such ailment as cancer, Parkinson disease, multiple sclerosis and other chronic and post dramatic stress disorders.

“The law on cannabis is an issue of deep social significance to the Caribbean public. It is our hope that your government will discuss with CARICOM the possibility of offering its expertise to the region in the area of research and development,” Savarin said.

Several Caribbean countries are debating the issue and the CARICOM Regional Commission on Marijuana in its report submitted to regional governments earlier this year, recommended the declassification of marijuana as a dangerous drug in all legislation and the reclassification of the drug as a controlled substance.

“The commission believes that the end goal for CARICOM should be the dismantling of prohibition in its totality, to be replaced by a strictly regulated framework akin to that for alcohol and tobacco, which are harmful substances that are not criminalized,” the report said.

“… The commission is unanimous in its view that the current classification for cannabis/marijuana as a dangerous drug with no value or narcotic, should be changed to a classification of cannabis as a controlled substance,” it said.

The Israeli diplomat in his brief address promised that his country would continue to assist in the rehabilitation of Dominica following the passage of Hurricane Maria last year.

“Israel will continue because in a difficult situation, as human beings we have to lend our hands one to each other,” he added.

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