Decriminalizing marijuana can reduce crime

Dean of UWI’s Faculty of Law, St Augustine Campus, Prof Rose-Marie Belle Antoine, made this comment to reporters after a special sitting of the Caribbean Court of Justice in Port of Spain on Friday. Antoine was the chairman of the regional commission on marijuana, which submitted a report to regional leaders at the Caricom Heads of Government Meeting in Montego Bay, Jamaica last week.

At Thursday’s post-Cabinet news conference at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s, the Prime Minister said decriminalizing marijuana was not a priority for Government at this time. Dr. Rowley said the jury was out regarding the possible medical benefits of marijuana. Antoine opined that the PM had not had the opportunity to read the report. According to Antoine, the report speaks to several issues, which are priorities for many Caricom countries.

Citing crime as one of these priorities, Antoine said law enforcement personnel in different Caricom countries think marijuana should be “decriminalized or legalized so they could place more resources and attention on the real criminal activity.”

She said it was a myth that marijuana causes people to engage in criminal activity. On the medical benefits of marijuana, Antoine said, “The jury is not out on the science. The science is extremely clear about the medical benefits of marijuana.” She added the commission was a bit “too cautious and conservative about the science.”