With an ambitious push to secure significant Parliamentary influence in the upcoming general and regional elections, the newly formed youth-based party, The New Movement, on Wednesday said a vote for the party will also mean a vote for the decriminalisation of marijuana.
The party also announced a slew of measures to pardon those imprisoned on marijuana-related charges and have their convictions struck from the record.
The party’s female Presidential Candidate 30-year-old Dr Asha Kissoon said The New Movement will be campaigning heavily to ensure youth involvement in the decision-making process but as a spin-off from that, marijuana decriminalisation for health, religious and recreational purposes would be among its top priorities alongside the legalisation of industrial hemp.
Dr Kissoon, the lone presenter at a press conference hosted at the party’s Durban Street Office on Tuesday, said they are seriously considering the legalisation of marijuana for medical use, particularly for cancer patients in the palliative care sector.
“It must be prescribed by a licensed practitioner before it can put into use. It’s not a wild west country,” she added.
Dr Kisson explained that as a long-term plan, the party also wants to slowly support the use of marijuana for recreational and religious purposes.
“We are planning to legalise it [marijuana] but it can only be used in specific areas that are licensed to sell, no public places it should be used in, you must be 18 years or older and if you’re selling it you must have a license,” the Presidential Candidate said.
The New Movement also proposes that any citizen who has been convicted for possession or use of marijuana should have this charge struck from the record and freed if still incarcerated.
“They should be able to get a job and not have on record that they were incarcerated for possession of marijuana… the rest of the world has already gotten on board with this, why is Guyana still behind?”
With the other major parties failing to regularise the use of hemp, The New Movement also promises to legalise industrial hemp with the hope that the farms and factories being majority Guyanese owned.
Dr. Kissoon said for too long these issues have been seen as a political gimmick and she believes the time has come for action.
In previous elections Guyanese were promised a review of laws relating to marijuana use and possession and while the issue has been taken up as a review for the wider Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Guyana is yet to conduct its own independent assessment.
For years the Rastafarian community and other sections of society have lobbied for the decriminalisation of marijuana.
Asked how the party intends to push this agenda, Dr Kissoon said not only is The New Movement looking to garner as many seats as possible in Parliament but it also intends to engage the other parties following the March 02, 2020 elections.
She promises that it will not be a “free for all” but a system with policies and strict control.
Dr Kissoon said The New Movement hopes to be the balance in Parliament following the elections.
Party promises marijuana decriminalisation, pardons for prisoners