Marijuana should be classified as food – activist

By Nadia Arandjelovic

Activist says marijuana should be classified as food.

A cannabis campaigner told MPs that marijuana should no longer be banned by law and instead be “reclassified as a food”.

Gershwyn Smith, of community activist group The Young Progressives, said the Island’s drug laws had increased the community’s problems and created “gang warfare and anarchy”.

During a presentation to the joint select committee on violent crime and gun violence on Friday, the 61-year-old said marijuana was a natural plant and used to heal certain ailments like paralysis.

He said: “God doesn’t make drugs,” adding that the ultimate solution was to change laws and policy and implement programmes that would remove hard drugs from the streets and away from the general community.

Mr Smith said other illegal substances like cocaine and heroine should be medicalised and placed in hospitals, clinics and public centres and totally controlled by Government.

He said this would get illegal substances out of the wrong hands by taking the profit away from drug dealers on the streets.

“Sick people or addicts or patients can register with the programme and get their medicine at a [reduced] price, which may be 60 cents a day instead of $50 to $500 a day at street level, depending on the extent of the individual’s addiction,” he said.

“Now we have the opportunity to encourage the addicts in their own time to try and clean up their addiction and other programmes made available.

“When there is no price in the street the product has lost its value and all crimes and social activity associated with illegal drugs comes to a stop.”

He said patients registered with the programme must be treated with respect and their identity protected.

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