CMC – A member of the recently established Commission on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation in Grenada has warned that the legalization of marijuana will not happen overnight, and in the interim is recommending that people 25 years and under who were charged, convicted and or imprisoned for simple cannabis possession be pardon by the Governor General.
“This thing is not going to happen overnight, it is going to take time,” said attorney Anselm Clouden, who represents the Ministry of Legal Affairs on the Commission.
He told reporters “for example, we have laws on the book that prohibits possession of any quantity from one marijuana cigarette joint to how much for possession of trafficking”.
Clouden is of the opinion that while the laws relating to cannabis are under review the Government should clean the records of those who have this criminal conviction against their names.
“There is a need to signal to the public, and I will advise that persons, young persons 25 and under that were charged, some imprisoned or convicted that a pardon could be given to them now,” he said.
The prominent criminal lawyer said those people under the age of 25 are in a special group because they will want to pursue studies overseas, become more viable on the job market, and travel to foreign universities as well as needing a visa to travel to either reside or be reunited with relatives.
“Having that stain on your record, especially young people inhibits or sometimes creates denial on such applications …it doesn’t say what quantity you have it just says that you were found guilty of being in possession of a controlled drug,” he said.
He is therefore advocating for those who were convicted for simple possession to receive a pardon from the Governor General as allowed under Section 72 of the Constitution Act which focuses on the Prerogative of Mercy.
However, these actions can only occur acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister.
The Commission is expected to complete its work and present its findings and recommendations no later than 14 months following the first meeting that was held on September 20.