Marijuana policy around the world is slowly shifting as more nations take a closer look at decriminalization (and full legalization) of cannabis. Antigua and Barbuda, an independent Commonwealth country positioned where the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea meet, is known for beautiful reef-lined beaches and lush rainforests. Soon, it could be the latest place to decriminalize cannabis.
In December 2017, lawmakers in Antigua and Barbuda introduced the Misuse of Drugs Amendment, which received a welcomed response. On Tuesday, House Representatives passed a decriminalization bill that the Senate will now decide on.
If Senate says yes, weed in this stunning island country will become decriminalized.
What Will Decriminalization Laws in Antigua and Barbuda Look Like?
If the decriminalization bill in Antigua and Barbuda passes, adults will be able to possess up to 15 grams of cannabis without getting a criminal charge. The proposed law will also allow a household to have up to four plants in their possession.
Samantha Marshall is the head of Antigua and Barbuda’s marijuana commission. And she wants to make it clear that decriminalization does not mean that weed will now be legal.
“A lot of persons thought that decriminalization simply meant that they would not be penalized for use,” Marshall said. “Decriminalization as we understand it is that you will not be given a criminal charge, but of course you will be ticketed.”
Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Makes Mention of Legalizing Medical Marijuana
Prime Minister Gaston Browne said the amendment isn’t to encourage the use of cannabis. Rather, he says, the main reason is to keep young people from receiving criminal records.
“I want to make it abundantly clear,” Browne said, “that my government is not advocating the use of cannabis, we are against anything that is smoked.
“We do accept though, on the other hand, that marijuana utilized in different forms has significant medical benefits and certainly we’ll move pretty quickly to ensure that we legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes.”