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(SNO) — Prime Minister of Dominica Roosevelt Skerrit has said he does not believe someone should be prosecuted for possession of small quantities of marijuana.
Speaking at a national consultation on the controversial subject in Dominica on Friday, he said that despite different views, he is satisfied that some consensus can be found almost immediately even while dialogue continues on the matter.
Among them are the prosecution of those with small quantities of the now illegal herb and those wanting to use it for religious purposes.
“I believe fundamentally and ideologically that we should not allow the prosecution of individuals for small quantities and having that on their record for their life time,” he stated. “I believe that is something we can deal with almost immediately as a nation towards the changing of the legislation in respect to that.”
He also said that he believes recognized Rastafarians who use the herb as part of the ritual should not be prosecuted.
“I believe we can find consensus on these things to allow the Rastafarian Movement to properly, legally, without any fear of persecution or prosecution to be able to have access to this substance, to this herb in a responsible manner…” he stated.
Despite this, Skerrit believes that some more time will be needed to discuss and consult on other things in respect to the herb.
“I think it is not a situation where the government is seeking to impose its like or dislikes on the society in respect to this matter,” he stated. “I believe once we get a sense there is consensus, there is an appreciation for the issue the government has the political will to take these matters to parliament and to effect necessary legislation to allow for these things to become operationalized.”
The consultation was the first ever to be held in Dominica in relation to marijuana, its use and its potential legalization.