Decriminalising ‘ganja’ would help Antigua, says attorney

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ST JOHN’S, Antigua – An attorney advocating the legalisation of marijuana in the region has challenged the minister of national security to decriminalise the drug as a means to protecting the country’s borders.

Dominican attorney Henry Shillingford said cash saved from prosecuting people accused of marijuana-related crimes could be redistributed to stopping harder drugs, such as cocaine, from entering Antigua & Barbuda.

“Dr (Errol) Cort, as national security minister, should in fact legalise ganja for the national security of Antigua. It is more in the interest of Antigua’s national security to legalise ganja,” Shillforgford said as a guest on Voice of the People yesterday.

“Then he would free up his budget to fight cocaine. Maybe he could get the coast guards he needs, because we can’t grow cocaine and we’re not down with cocaine,” he added.

Shillingford was responding to Dr Cort who spoke earlier in the programme, stating that in his capacity as minister of national security he would enforce the laws against marijuana possession “pursuant to the laws of Antigua & Barbuda.”

The minister also noted that there has been increased drug trafficking through the Eastern Caribbean because of the crackdown on trafficking in South America and Mexico. The phenomenon has led traffickers to redirect their efforts into the region, to be able to reach the United States, United Kingdom and Europe.

While Dr Cort said there was a “very strong” argument for the decriminalisation of marijuana, he said that his official position was to align with the country’s laws.

Dr Cort could not be reached for a comment.


(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)

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