(CMC) – A prominent criminal attorney is calling on the Grenada government to take immediate legal steps to accommodate Canadian visitors who need to use marijuana for medicinal purposes despite the island’s law prohibiting the use of the drug.
Attorney, Anselm Clouden, a vocal advocate for the decriminalisation of marijuana over the years for both medicinal and religious purposes, says if Grenada fails to provide such accommodation this could lead to a backlash from the Canadian government.
Canada Wednesday legalised the use of marijuana for both recreational and medicinal purposes. In most provinces and all the territories, people will be allowed to possess four marijuana plants per household.
“Grenada now needs to take steps to protect the thousands of Canadians who will be visiting the island for business or pleasure,” said Clouden, who has represented a number of nationals and visitors alike on marijuana possession-related charges.
“It is not that Canadians will be refused when they enter St George’s, what is going to happen is, they will be apprehended, fine or may be imprisoned and that is going to do tremendous harm to the tourism industry,” Clouden said.
“You may very well have an advisory coming from Canada warning its citizens to stay away from Grenada if they are ill and have to travel with medicinal marijuana or alternatively if they recreate with it,” Clouden said, adding that he is recommending that Grenada adopts some of the measure instituted by Jamaica.
“We have to look at what Jamaica has done, where visitors coming it with cannabis will have to declare it at the airport, declare the quantity they are coming with and if they stay exceed a certain period they will have to be permitted to bring into the country for their own personal use added quantities,” he said.
Chief executive officer of the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA), Patricia Maher, has confirmed that when compared to previous years there are record visitor arrival numbers already logged from Canada for 2018 and as a result of the demand for Grenada among Canadians, Air Canada is adding a new flight as of mid-December.
She said that starting December 18, Grenada will have three direct flights per week from Canada’s Toronto Pearson International Airport.
“This additional weekly flight will give Canadians more options to fly from Toronto direct into St. George’s, Grenada. This is fantastic news for us as airlift is critical to the continued growth of our destination’s tourism industry, this can only lead to more visitors” said Maher.
GTA statistics show that since 2009, a significant number of Canadians visit the island The figure show that in 2015, the total number of visitors from Canada stood at 10,790, increasing 10,723 in 2016 and 11,383 last year.