British Virgin Islands Minister Calls for Cannabis Decriminalization

Last month, reported that the British Virgin Islands were considering the idea of cannabis decriminalization. At the time, Premier D. Orlando Smith was reviewing the sentencing laws for possession.

This relaxed Caribbean paradise wasted no time bringing up the topic in Parliament, with the Junior Minister of Trade breaking his silence on the issue yesterday. Minister Marlon Penn stated outright that the government should decriminalize cannabis possession.

Penn reasoned with the other Ministers, stating that too many young users end up with criminal records. In turn, those records make it more challenging to find jobs and can also lead to a continued cycle of imprisonment for the individual.

“The whole issue of alternative sentencing; that is something that we need to look at,” he said directly to the Premier. “We need to seriously, as legislators, look at the decriminalization of marijuana. We are sending our young men to jail for a drug.”

The Junior Minister added that “too many of our young men are getting criminal records; they are getting lost in the system. It’s like a revolving door.”

In his plea for a smarter approach to cannabis, Penn cited Jamaica as an example of a  Caribbean nation with sweeping marijuana reform. He noted various other countries around the world are doing the same, stating that “all of these nations have decriminalized it because they realize that economically it doesn’t make sense.”

The Caribbean region is currently a hotbed of cannabis reform, as more island nations adopt decriminalization or even marijuana as medicine. The British Virgin Islands are poised to join these other nations as the righteous path forward for its people. If they are successful, it will give many of their citizens a brighter future, in an already very sunny nation.

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