Lower House passes amendment to decriminalise ganja


The Lower House, today, passed the amendment to the Misuse of Drugs Act, paving the way for the decriminalization of marijuana.

However, the Upper House will also have to approve the amendment and it would have to be gazetted before it becomes law.

When passed, the bill will allow residents to have up to 15 grams of cannabis instead of the original 10 grams proposed. The proposed law will also make it lawful for a household to have up to four plants in their possession.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne said the amendment was brought to parliament for its second and third reading after year-long public consultations.

Browne told the debate on the amendment that the law is not meant to encourage marijuana use.

“We are not commercializing the sale of cannabis,” he said.

“We do not condone the importation of marijuana at all,” Browne added.

The Prime Minister said the main reason for passing the amendment is to prevent young users from getting a criminal record.

There are also plans to have an education campaign to educate individuals about the adverse effects of the drug.


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  1. Yep I will take away your criminal record but in turn will give you a medical one. Is that the intent of the government. For me personally I will have neither.

  2. This is where the disrespect for police authority begins and criminals will believe that it’s ok for them to walk the streets and blow their smoke in the face of police. I hope the law makes reservations for those kinds of disrespect

  3. To 007 not all weed smokers hold the title of criminal…They are in all groups..Defence Force, Police Force, Politicians, Doctors (especially the med students), National Cricket Heroes…Alcohol is way more intoxicating than marijuana but yet still it has been legal for years and ppl walk the streets drunk as ever especially down the market area and many times the police driving by and they not noticing a soul. Not saying ppl should disrespect the officers of the law and blow smoke at them but I believe it will become way more common to see someone casually smoking a joint in public like it’s a cigarette..

  4. From the entire debate the part that moved me most was the Prime Minister’s final remarks. I don’t know if the media houses missed this or if they are just insensitive to the plight of the Rastafarian movement, not only in Antigua but the world over. More so the timing was so perfect. We are just entering the Black History month and one of the world’s greatest Rastafarian Nesta Robert (Bob) Marley was born on this day. The prime minister did what prime minister Holder did in his parliament about a year ago
    Prime Minister Gaston Browne apologized to the Rastafarian community on behalf of the government and the people of Antigua and Barbuda for all the wrong that has been committed against, such as police brutality and victimization. He believes that sometimes it may have even lead to the death of some persons. And he said that if definitely proven, his government will do everything possible to assist and compensate those families left behind. I really hope and trust that this admission does not go to waste and that those families come forward and claim their rightful restitution. This to me is a prime minister worth every praise one can give him. And I know the political operatives will disagree and perhaps this media will dismiss this but this is the humblest act ever displayed by a politician in our country.
    God bless you Honorable Mr. Gaston Brown Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda. Respect One Love.

  5. 007. …you can’t walk and blow smoke In anyone’s face it is against the law …but thanks to the alp for doing this although it is a small step but a huge move for Antigua society. ….it still baffles me y someone could go to jail for a plant ,i understand smuggling and it is against the law Wetther its a pack of biscuit or 10lb of weed….but having a plant that is a part of nature should not be illegal. …but thanks again gaston

  6. To be honest what does this decriminalization have to do with production and export?
    How will this help the country on a whole towards progressing it’s people to a better future?
    Just say you can smoke it does nothing for the country.

  7. 007 your ridiculous where do you see any sensible person trying to antagonize police officer blowing smoke or whatever. If you ignorant enough to blow smoke u can throw rum like all the drunkards that roam the street.

    Samuel the decriminalization has to start somewhere and it’s a shame how police officers use the pretext of looking for a weed most time a person smells of it and they take the opportunity to harass people. I myself have been stopped and told I have no choice they will search my vehicle fine. I gave no struggle then after to have comments like because u drive a big vehicle you feel we can’t stop you. That people like me must be humble infront or police why because they stereotyped me as a « ghetto youth » why because i wore a vest and shorts to go to the shop or because my face isn’t well knowned as a rich or affluent person. Decriminalization serves to protect the young people up and coming who work contribute to society but smoke the occasional joint shouldn’t get a record or harassed by these unprofessional police officers. This is the first step in a long battle and I’m sure they will still keep on trying to ignore the new law once it has been passed and gazzeted into effect.

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