Police Burn Cannabis Plants Worth $159M at Ebini Backdam

Police in Guyana have destroyed a large cannabis farm at Ebini Backdam, Berbice River, on Sunday, March 7, 2024. The farm, which covered about four acres of land, had over 10,000 cannabis plants, with an estimated street value of $159 million.

The cannabis eradication operation was conducted by the police in Regional Division #10, between 12:00 hrs and 16:30 hrs on Sunday. The police found 132 beds of cannabis plants, ranging from 12 inches to five feet in height. The police also discovered a makeshift camp and a quantity of dried cannabis, weighing about 34 lbs.

The police destroyed the cannabis plants and the camp by fire. No one was arrested during the operation. The police are continuing their investigations to identify and apprehend the owners and cultivators of the farm.

The Cannabis Situation in Guyana

Cannabis, also known as marijuana or ganja, is the most widely used illicit drug in Guyana. According to the 2019 National Drug Report, cannabis accounted for 95% of the drug-related arrests and 98% of the drug seizures in the country. The report also stated that cannabis cultivation and trafficking are prevalent in the hinterland regions, especially in the Berbice River area.

Cannabis is illegal in Guyana, under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Control) Act of 1988. The act prohibits the possession, cultivation, trafficking, and consumption of cannabis, and imposes penalties ranging from fines to imprisonment. However, in 2018, the government amended the act to reduce the penalties for the possession of small amounts of cannabis, from three years to six months in jail, or a fine of $30,000.

The Cannabis Debate in Guyana

The issue of cannabis legalization has been a subject of debate in Guyana for many years. Some advocates argue that cannabis has medicinal and economic benefits, and that its prohibition violates the human rights and cultural practices of some groups, such as the Rastafarians. They also claim that cannabis legalization would reduce the crime and violence associated with the drug trade, and generate revenue and employment for the country.

On the other hand, some opponents argue that cannabis is harmful to the health and well-being of the users and the society, and that its legalization would increase the drug abuse and addiction problems in the country. They also contend that cannabis legalization would violate the international drug conventions that Guyana is a party to, and that it would undermine the efforts to combat the drug trafficking and money laundering activities in the region.

The government of Guyana has not taken a clear position on the issue of cannabis legalization, and has stated that it is open to dialogue and consultation with the stakeholders and the public. The government has also indicated that it is considering the establishment of a National Drug Commission, which would review the existing drug policies and legislation, and make recommendations for reform.

Police burn cannabis plants worth $159M at Ebini Backdam, as part of their ongoing efforts to eradicate the illicit drug trade in Guyana.

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