Dominica’s Opposition party calls on government to revisit marijuana policy

By Rumi Samuel Published on March 07, 2023
Dominica’s Opposition party calls on government to revisit marijuana policy

The opposition United Workers Party (UWP) is calling on the Dominica government to revisit the policy to legalize the possession of 28 grams of marijuana and the cultivation of not more than three plants.

In a statement, the party said that while it supports the medicinal cannabis industry, “we stand firm on the premise that our young people must be protected at all costs and that measures must be put in place to channel their energy into productive areas.

“The UWP further calls on the government of Dominica to establish a National Rehabilitation Centre. Establish well-equipped sporting facilities where the youth can train to participate effectively in local, regional, and international tournaments. Increase the capabilities and capacities of the Island’s youth by placing a lot more emphasis on their training in and acquisition of technical and vocational skills.”

The party said that it had since 2019 given a “solemn promise that if elected to office, it would in the first one hundred days approve and enact policy framework legislation and regulations to legalize, grow and process marijuana into manufactured health products.

“This would be part of the overall strategy toward economic resilience and would be done under strict regulations to protect our children and youths,”  adding that its recommendation had been ignored by the government that in 2020 enacted the policy to legalize small amounts of drugs.

The party, which boycotted the 2020 general election last December, said that it was always of the opinion that the policy on marijuana “would not be in the interest of the Dominican people since it would just encourage our youths to smoke but not to create entrepreneurial opportunities to enhance their livelihood”.

The UWP said that it has always been concerned about the “future and plight of the young people of Dominica who are so frustrated battling unemployment, underemployment, mental problems and many more socio-economic problems due to a failing economy.

“Consequently, the youth feel their only option is to sit on the street corners and indiscriminately smoke marijuana. This constant smoking of weed could permanently harm their mental capacities and increase social anxiety disorders.

“All people of good conscience in Dominica have a moral obligation to protect our children and young people from exposure to bad decisions made by our leaders in their quest for absolute power, regardless of the trail of broken lives that are left in their wake.”

The party said its approach to this issue remains clear and that “we must prevent indiscriminate use of marijuana in our communities and ensure law enforcement protects society by enforcing the laws and tackling the organized crime associated with the drug trade.”

“The party also recommends that the government revisits its drug policy by taking a balanced, coherent, and consolidated approach to address the evolving challenges posed.”

Rumi Samuel

Rumi Samuel

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