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Clouden: “The decriminalisation of marijuana I have no qualms about that”

Keith Clouden – not opposed to freeing up the herb

Former Agriculture representative in the Senate, Keith Clouden has given cautious support to the decriminalisation of marijuana on the law books in Grenada.

Clouden outlined his position on the issue in an interview with the Grenada Broadcasting Network (GBN) during its programme called “To The Point”.

“The decriminalisation of marijuana I have no qualms about that. I am just concerned that it does not get into the hands of our very young people,” he said.

“I am concerned that it is used for medicinal purposes – we can develop an industry around it as other countries have – we are far behind. My position is liberalise it and at least control it,” he added.

According to Clouden the herb which is frequently smoked by members of the Rastafarian religious sect, must only be used for medicinal purposes and that more research needed to be done into the benefits, as well as to its positive and negative effects. Considered as one of the leading farmers on the island, Clouden urged the authorities to continue to listen to the views of the people on the issue before making a final determination on its decriminalisation.

He recalled the days when the U.S government used to send in planes to the island to help destroy the herb and then shortly turned around and started to develop a very profitable industry with the plant for medicinal purposes.

“I say we should continue to listen to the voices of the people and there are a considerable number of people who want to see some kind of development in the cannabis industry. It is a viable industry, it has great potential for revenue generation,” he said.

Clouden was also asked by the programme host to comment on the impact he believes that the incoming Minister of Agriculture, Peter David can have on the industry which has been on the decline on the island in recent years.

He welcomed Minister David and immediately called on him to put back into the hands of the state those government estates that were commercialised during the previous 2013-18 term in office of the current ruling New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell.

One of the farms in the St. Andrew area was given to some of the “revolutionaries” who were convicted and spent lengthy prison sentences for the execution of Marxist Prime Minister Maurice Bishop on October 19, 1983.

Clouden said that the experiment has failed and the estates should be taken back by government which should set up systems to put them back into production since he does not believe that it is only the private sector that can successfully run business.

“I am hoping that he (David) will take a firm position on the Laura Estate and Grand Bras estate – especially Grand Bras estate where cows and animals are just running wild all over the place,” he told the programme.

According to the ex-Senator, he hopes that Minister David will be able to motivate the youth to get involved in the agriculture sector.

“We don’t just have to talk about youth in agriculture, we have to go and meet all those youth that are right now involved in agriculture,” he said.

Clouden pointed at the amount of youngsters in Mt. Hartman area in the south of the island who are actively engaged in agriculture and growing crops while government is giving preference to a billion dollar tourism development project in the same area involving foreign investors.

He is concerned about what will happen to these youngsters and their crops in the face of the tourism-related project.

“…I hope that he (David) will be able to join us with the youth and make some sort of impact there because that’s the next generation that has to take over this industry,” he said.

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