The United Workers Party (UWP) plans to legalize Cannabis/Marijuana on the island when it is elected into government.
In his response to the 2018-2019 National Budget in Parliament on Thursday 26 July 2018, Opposition Leader, Lennox Linton said a share of the global cannabis industry can deliver the lift “we desperately need” for the rural economy and strong livelihood restoration Post Hurricane Maria.
“As such, our Agenda for Change will have the legalization of cannabis with strict regulations to protect our children as a pillar to revive the vital agricultural sector in Dominica and as a fundamental part of the overall strategy for economic resilience,” Mr. Linton stated.
There has been a call for the decriminalization of cannabis from a number of persons and groups, to include the Organization of the Reformation of Anti-Cannabis Laws in Dominica (ORACLE).
Earlier this month, 12 July, ORACLE proposed that Dominica uses legalization of cannabis as a way to rebrand the island, during the Dominica Association of Industry and Commerce’s (DAIC) annual Eggs and Issues Breakfast held at the Prevo Cinemall.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, in his budget presentation, said government will engage stakeholders on issues relating to use of marijuana in Dominica for medical purposes and possible decriminalization in this financial year.
He added that a task force will be appointed to advance or coordinate the public dialogue and the CARICOM Regional Commission report will serve as a basis for discussion.
However, Mr. Linton believes that there is “an urgent need” for Dominica to consider and come to terms with the issues involved in humanizing, legalizing and industrializing cannabis in the interest of national health, wellness, and resilient economic development.
A number of countries have already decriminalized marijuana, including Uruguay, Canada, Colorado, and Jamaica.
He said while the Prime Minister “continues to fall further and further behind regional leaders on another important socio-economic issue with massive nature island development implications”, the UWP will continue stakeholder consultations on the issue.
“We are currently working on an inventory of cannabis varieties in Dominica to be tested for their medicinal contents. We recognize that in the Caribbean cannabis (Ganja) and Rastafari cannot be separated,” Mr. Linton stated.
Additionally, he said a UWP government will take “a holistic approach” to building a viable cannabis industry that will protect traditional stakeholders and ensure no interest group is left behind in sharing the health, wellness and economic development benefits.
Further, Mr. Linton noted that Dominica should urgently considering decriminalizing cannabis as news reports from around the world, especially from North America, allow us to witness how an industry in two to three years is energizing an already robust economy, how jobs are being created.
“We believe Dominica must get on board now to take advantage of the increasing opportunities for job creation, foreign exchange earnings and a wealthier nation,” he said.
“In addition, the availability and affordability of cannabis-based medicinal and wellness products will significantly reduce the incidence of non-communicable diseases and thereby lead to a healthier nation,” Mr. Linton continued.