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Dunkley: Time to discuss decriminalisation of marijuana

Public Safety Minister Michael Dunkley said he is prepared to begin a “meaningful discussion” on the decriminalisation of marijuana.

Opposition Leader Marc Bean and Attorney General Mark Pettingill are among those who have called for a mature public discussion on the legal status of the controlled drug.

Mr Dunkley's comments were made at the second annual Bermuda Drug Information Network conference today.

“Without going into too much detail, I do feel it is important to indicate that I am prepared to begin a meaningful discussion on the decriminalisation of marijuana in Bermuda,” he said. “Let me be clear, I do not support the legalisation as I am not convinced that such a course is fit and proper for this Country.

“I do take notice of the effect that a conviction for the youthful indiscretion of marijuana possession can have on our citizens and with that in mind a wider discussion on decriminalisation must take place.”

And on the subject of medicinal marijuana, he said: “This discussion cannot be discounted and must also form part of a sensible and mature discussion on this issue.”

Marijuana and alcohol remain the most commonly used drugs, however the combined use of illegal drugs such as heroin, and legal prescription drugs like oxycodone, is becoming increasingly noticeable on the Island, he said.

“Although some types of experimental drug use may be falling, there remains a core of entrenched users — of opioids, cocaine, and even cannabis and alcohol — who experience the greatest problems, and they must remain the focus for our intervention efforts,” he added.

Public Safety Minister Michael Dunkley (Photo by Akil Simmons)

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Published October 24, 2013 at 2:01 pm (Updated October 24, 2013 at 2:01 pm)

Dunkley: Time to discuss decriminalisation of marijuana

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