Mauritius wants to decriminalize the personal use of drugs and authorize medical cannabis

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A bill presented to the Council of Ministers and debated in the Mauritian parliament proposes to decriminalize the personal use of drugs in Mauritius, in addition to introducing medical cannabis more widely.

Decriminalization of personal use

The text of the law, reported by the Mauritian press, provides that the possession of drugs for personal use and without aggravating circumstances – for example cultivation for the purpose of trafficking – can escape legal proceedings. The person would be offered a follow-up against addiction and will have to appear before a body created for the occasion, the Drug Users’ Administrative Panel (DUAP).

This panel will accompany the consumer in his care journey, without penal follow-up. Currently when the Mauritian police arrest a user in possession of drugs, the latter is prosecuted criminally.

Expansion of medical cannabis testing

The second part of the bill concerns cannabis for medical use, which has so far been restricted to one trial.

Derivative products containing cannabis and prescribed to patients (capsules, oils, syrup, flower, etc.) must not exceed 30 mg and 60 ml of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) per dose.

To qualify for treatment, specific medical conditions will be required such as:

  • spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis not treated by conventional means
  • severe refractory epilepsy that does not respond to any conventional anticonvulsant therapy
  • patients undergoing chemotherapy whose treatments for side effects are ineffective or patients with intractable pain.

These patients will be referred to Medicinal Cannabis Therapeutic Committeewhich will be instituted in each public hospital and their case will be submitted by a specialist authorized to recommend the use of medical cannabis.

The treatments will be provided over a renewable period not exceeding three months. Medical cannabis will be imported by the Ministry of Health only and the delivery supervised by the police.

Rastas want religious legalization

Alongside this reform of the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Bill, the island’s Rasta community is asking for permission to use cannabis during Rastafarian celebrations. Rastas rely on the island’s Constitution which guarantees religious freedom. Several countries already allow the sacramental use of cannabis or other psychoactive plants within communities.

Lawyer Sanjeev Teeluckdharry will testify before the Supreme Court very soon to explain that the constitutional rights of Rastas have so far been violated and that the religious use of cannabis must be reconsidered.

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