Friday 23 August, 2019

Update: Cannabis group to protest outside Parliament

Update July 29, 2019, 9:47 am: 

Cannabis advocacy group the Caribbean Collective for Justice will be holding a demonstration outside Parliament on July 31, 2019, for the repeal of cannabis laws.

Although President Paula-Mae Weekes is currently out of the country, CCJ founder Nazma Muller said the event will continue.

 

Muller issued a clarion call for all in support of medical cannabis to join them in their march, ahead of government's planned meeting to discuss the Bail Amendment Bill.

The Bill seeks to deny bail for 120 days, to a person charged with a listed offence that is punishable for a term of imprisonment of ten years or more. 

"Any MP can bring a motion to repeal all the ganja laws and we can be free to access this medicine...if you know the scientific evidence (of marijuana) that can help heal you or your relatives who are sick, please come out and support us," she said.

A petition to the Prime Minister, which was launched by the group last year, amassed almost 12,000 signatures, following which several public consultations were held by government. 

In July 2018, CARICOM states agreed to review the status of marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, following a meeting of heads of government in Jamaica.

Muller said however that while the legislative process is underway, special licenses can be issued in the interim to allow patients to access these medical products.

“I am imploring the President to intervene and ask the Minister of Health to issue licences to allow me to supply them with life-saving medicine.”

“This is already permitted by law, according to a clause in the Dangerous Drugs Act. As an accomplished lawyer, the President can use her immense powers to help these citizens. I would like to meet with Her Excellency as soon as possible to discuss how we can be of service to our fellow citizens in their time of need.”

“There are people who cannot wait and they need the treatment now, so I am begging the President to intervene. Please give us permission to bring in these medical products,” she said in an interview with LoopTT last week.

The group said it will gather around midday outside Parliament in Port of Spain on Wednesday. 

Persons seeking to assist or join the march can contact the group on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/caribbeancollectiveforjustice/ 

 

Original story: 

Cannabis advocacy group, the Caribbean Collective for Justice (CCJ), is calling for a meeting with President Paula Mae-Weekes in an effort to persuade government to issue health licenses for cannabis medication.

Speaking to LoopTT, CCJ founder, Nazma Muller, said that there are cancer patients who are suffering and dying and need help now. 

The group previously submitted a petition with over 12,000 signatures to government, calling for the decriminalisation of marijuana for medical and personal use.

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Government has since held several consultations this year, however, the group said while this process is ongoing, people are suffering and dying from health issues which could be alleviated or treated with cannabis medication.

She said while the legislative process is underway, special licenses can be issued in the interim to allow patients to access these medical products.

“I am imploring the President to intervene and ask the Minister of Health to issue licences to allow me to supply them with life-saving medicine.”

“This is already permitted by law, according to a clause in the Dangerous Drugs Act. As an accomplished lawyer, the President can use her immense powers to help these citizens. I would like to meet with Her Excellency as soon as possible to discuss how we can be of service to our fellow citizens in their time of need.”

“There are people who cannot wait and they need the treatment now, so I am begging the President to intervene. Please give us permission to bring in these medical products,” she said.

She said one stage four cancer patient recently received cannabis oil which greatly relieved his suffering.

“One man I spoke to has stage four cancer, he’s in pampers and cannot walk. He’s been prescribed steroids so this has led to weight gain which has exacerbated his situation. He’s in a lot of pain,” she said.

She said the cannabis medicines are certified and approved products which are already being used in Jamaica and other countries where medical cannabis has been legalised.

“In the meantime, if they issue licenses then we can have these tested, certified products brought to them. The Ministry of Health in Jamaica has already approved several products for use.”

“We’re not saying to just issue a license and we’ll procure it just like that. They can go through the proper processes but please, people urgently need these medicines.”

“If they’re bringing marijuana decriminalisation before Parliament then they have acknowledged that this medicine is working.

“These people are in the last stages of cancer, why won’t they give them the chance to at least go with less pain and some dignity?”

Muller said the group is also considering a demonstration outside the President’s office on July 31, 2019, if they receive no response.

“We cannot wait. They may say why can’t we wait? The people who need it urgently who are in pain need it now. For some of them, cannabis oil is their last hope."

"We must emancipate ourselves," she said. 

Muller said she is willing to meet with President Weekes as soon as possible to address the matter.

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