A group of Guyanese-Americans known as the Guyana American Patriotic Forum (GAPF) has called on the Government of Guyana to decriminalize small amounts of cannabis.
In a press release, the group voiced their opposition to citizens of Guyana who are jailed for possessing small amounts of pot for personal use.
“The GAPF is a group of Guyanese-Americans who live in the United States,” said Colin Moore, president of the GAPF in an interview with Marijuana.com. “Some of our members are attorneys in Guyana and one of them reported to us that there is a young man who had a perfect record, and he was sentenced to two years in prison for possessing a small amount of marijuana, about 2 grams or less.”
Moore added that the group was “very disturbed” by the news. “There are people [in Guyana] who are trafficking in cocaine and heroin. There was one guy who is a big drug trafficker and he was granted bail. He was sentenced and when the authorities went to arrest him, he had escaped to another country.”
Based on situations such as these, Moore and the GAPF feel there is currently a “vast disparity” in sentences imposed. “The fact that they would impose a two-year sentence for such a small amount of marijuana, indicates to me that they regarding it as a dangerous substance,” added Moore.
Moore surmised that Guyana has not yet approached the idea of cannabis reform due to a long history of trafficking and government crackdowns on drug smuggling through the country. “Guyana was a transshipment point for a lot of drug trafficking from Colombia and South America to the United States. So, for that reason, they clamped down all points of entry.”
What Moore and the GAPF would like to see happen is the decriminalization of cannabis for personal use, as well as the introduction of a medical cannabis system within the country. “There are a lot of people, for example, in Guyana who suffer from glaucoma, and as you know, marijuana is an effective [substance] when it comes to the treatment of glaucoma.”
At this time, there has been no acknowledgment from Guyana’s government officials regarding the press release or any plans to decriminalize cannabis, but Moore and his colleagues are hopeful that their efforts will help turn the tide and end prohibition.
Photo courtesy of Allie Beckett