Premier Wayne Panton has pointed to decriminalisation of marijuana as a means to get more young Caymanians into jobs, when he outlined plans for increasing employment and improving educational opportunities.
“An immediate step is to reduce discrimination against young people in education and employment through decriminalisation of marijuana,” Panton said in his speech in Parliament Thursday.
Panton said his administration is dedicated to creating greater employment opportunities for Caymanians and that “includes removing barriers and obstacles to employment, especially entry level employment”.
“Far too many of our young people suffer unduly harsh punishments, and have their futures permanently blighted by what are minimal misdemeanors. In far too many cases, the punishment far outweighs the crime,” he told fellow legislators as he made a case for decriminalisation.
He said, as has been shown to good effect in Canada, the United Kingdom and several states in the USA, “decriminalisation is an effective tool and has not proven to increase criminal activity”.
However, he did not delve further into the issue, nor provide details on a pathway to make this happen.
A number of Caribbean countries have already moved to decriminalise small amounts of marijuana. Last year, Dominica approved a bill for an act to decriminalise the possession of 28 grams (one ounce) or less of cannabis (marijuana).