The formal regional conversation around marijuana in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) will move to another level when the first national consultation on the issue is held on Wednesday, 15 June in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The Regional Commission on Marijuana, in collaboration with the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines has convened a series of consultations with a cross section of stakeholders including youth, faith based organizations and non-governmental organizations and special interests groups.
In July 2014, the CARICOM Conference of Heads of Government mandated the Secretary General of CARICOM to established the Marijuana Commission which would, inter alia, “examine the social, economic, health and legal issues surrounding the various aspects of Marijuana use in the Caribbean and its implications, and make recommendations to the Conference”.
In fulfilling its mandate, the Commission will host three Focus Group discussions and a Town Hall meeting as part of the national consultation in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. They will engage with Youth drawn from secondary and high schools, community colleges, tertiary learning institutions, out of school youth, youth leaders and institutions working with youth.
Discussions will also be held with special interests groups such as researchers, medical practitioners, including of alternative medicine; advocates for medicinal and others uses of marijuana, and representatives from the National Drug Council, as well as faith-based organizations and non-governmental organizations.
The Commission, headed by Prof. Rose-Marie-Bell Antoine, Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus, is composed of practitioners with expert knowledge in a variety of disciplines including medicine and allied health, health research, law enforcement, ethics, education, anthropology/sociology/ culture.
The consultation in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is the first of the region-wide engagements to be undertaken by the Commission.