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‘Babsy’ Grange calls for decriminalisation of small amounts of ganja

Thursday, June 05, 2014 | 11:20 AM    

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KINGSTON, Jamaica— Opposition spokesperson on Youth, Culture and Entertainment, Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange, is calling on Government to decriminalise the possession of small amounts of marijuana and erase the police records of individuals who have been criminalised for such over the years.

Grange in a release Thursday said that having discussed the issue with a number of individuals, including members of the music industry and young adults, she was again “battling with the terrible fact that many lives are being affected” by Government’s delay in decriminalising the possession of small amounts of ganja.

 “While the Government delays in making changes to legislation, each week hundreds are locked up, prosecuted and fingerprinted for what is in essence, a victimless crime. They are left with criminal records which define and constrain their entire potential.

“The horrible irony is that when they can’t get jobs, it adds to rising levels of unemployment and makes them even more susceptible to engaging in criminal activities,” she said.

Grange argued that the former administration, of which she was a part, had already started the process.

“A Cabinet decision had been taken and a Ministry Paper tabled in Parliament proposing to, through legislation, decriminalise possession of small amounts, and to expunge records of those persons previously convicted of such possession.  After almost 3 years in office, when public and international attitudes have become even more supportive of the idea, the present administration continues to drag its feet”.

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