There should be lighter sentences for possession of marijuana
Stabroek News
October 12, 2001

Dear Editor,

I read with interest the case of one Mr Garvin Grumble who was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment for being in possession of a mere 10 grams of cannabis. In your edition of Tuesday October 2, 2001, a group of letter writers found this very alarming.
Well, I want them to know that this is no surprise to me. Things like these go on in our courts every single day of our lives. Sometimes I wonder if magistrates really do apply the law or if they simply work with instincts. Poor Mr Grumble is just another one of a long list of unfortunate men whose lives and future are doomed because of decisions by some magistrates.
I sincerely hope that the close relatives of Mr Grumble can find the means of appealing this case, which decision was handed down by a Berbice Magistrate, in the hope that proper judgment will prevail.

Yours faithfully
Alwin Peters

Editor's note
Regrettably in this case the magistrate had no discretion as this is the minimum sentence fixed by the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Control) Act. The Act, as amended in l999, only prescribes lighter sentences for persons in possession of less than five grams and where it is clearly established that this was for personal consumption and not trafficking. Several persons have urged that the Act be extended to introduce lighter penalties for possession of larger amounts of marijuana, in keeping with the position in many other countries.