Court orders Seychelles’ Attorney General’s office to move forward on legal cannabis case
Seychelles court's building 'Palais de Justice' at Ile du Port. (Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - The Seychelles Constitutional Court has given the Attorney General’s office three weeks to file its defence against a petition compelling the Home Affairs minister to establish regulations permitting access to cannabis for medical purposes.
Frank Elizabeth, the lawyer of Ralph Volcere, who is the petitioner, said that his client has agreed to come up with a new proposition to prevent further proceedings.
“If the minister gives its commitment to pass a regulation within a reasonable time then we can do what we call a ‘judgment by consent’ where both parties agree to pass the regulation to allow cannabis to be used for medical purpose,” Elizabeth told SNA.
The case follows a petition launched by a group of citizens in Seychelles lobbying for the legalisation of cannabis in the island nation. The effort was spearheaded by Volcere. The petition asked the government to remove cannabis from the list of class A, B, or C drugs.
|The ‘Legalising Cannabis in Seychelles,’ petition is asking the government to remove cannabis from the list of class A, B, or C drugs which are controlled drugs. (Ralph Volcere, Facebook)|
Under the Seychelles Misuse of Drugs Act, class A, B or C are controlled drugs and under the act, import, export and trafficking of controlled drugs are prohibited and a person shall not possess, smoke, consume or administer such a drug.
The law was revised in the Misuse of Drugs Act 2016 which aims at providing more effective measures to fight drug abuse and trafficking, easing investigation of such offences and prosecution of offenders. It also aims at promoting treatment, education and rehabilitation of addicts.
Speaking on his petition, Volcere said that he has gone ahead on behalf of his mother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s -- a brain disease that causes a slow decline in memory, thinking and reasoning skills.
“Cannabis relaxes her and helps her sleep well without walking around in her room in the dark,” says Volcere, who added that he wants to, therefore, provide his mother with medical cannabis without breaking the law.
Volcere said that this can only happen after the Minister for Home Affairs in consultation with the Minister of Health introduce rules and regulations on how to manage the use of cannabis for medical purposes.
The case is being heard by Justice Mohan Niranjit Burhan, who asked the petitioner’s lawyer to write a letter to the office of the Attorney General to see if they agree on a ‘judgment by consent.’
Justice Burhan said that the case will resume on February 27.
The representative of the Attorney General’s Office, George Thaclitt, said that they will give their reply in three weeks as to whether they will enter into a consent.
In Seychelles, cannabis has been used for a long, undocumented period. Prior to the entry of heroin in the country, the substance was accessible to the public through the black market. Cannabis is derived from the plant cannabis sativa which grows wild in many tropical areas of the world.