Seychelles’ court allows push for medical marijuana to move forward, rebuffing Attorney General

The Constitutional Court of Seychelles has dismissed preliminary objections by the Attorney General's office against a petition to establish regulations allowing access to cannabis for medical purposes.

Following the ruling on Tuesday, Frank Elizabeth, the lawyer of Ralph Volcere -- the petitioner -- said he is very happy that the court has rejected all preliminary objections.

I believe strongly in that case. I believe strongly that people who are ill, who want to try an alternative other than conventional medicine, should get the chance to do so, Elizabeth told SNA.

The objections put forth by the Attorney General's office were that the petitioner should not be able to file a petition on behalf of another person and that the court cannot give a decision to oblige the government to do anything based on the notion of separation of power. The Attorney General also said the petition does not have any merit.

Volcere is making the petition on behalf of his mother, who suffers from Alzheimer's -- a brain disease that causes a slow decline in memory, thinking and reasoning skills.

The Constitutional Court has also given the Attorney General's office until October 2 to file its defence.

I hope after this, the Attorney General's office would have got a clear message that the court has agreed on the points put forward in the petition and that we shouldn't waste any more time to come to a decision, said Elizabeth.

The case follows a petition launched by a group of citizens in Seychelles lobbying for the legalisation of cannabis in the island nation. The case which is being spearheaded by Volcere is asking the government to remove cannabis from the list of class A, B, or C drugs.

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.

The AG's office is going to work on its defence said the office's representative George Thaclitt who did not comment further.

According to Volcere, the petitioner, the court has taken a good decision.

He said the law already makes provision for that to happen, it is just a matter of the Minister of Home Affairs in consultation with the Minister of Health to introduce rules and regulations on how to manage the use of cannabis for medical purposes.

We cannot have a situation that is out of control where everybody is selling medical cannabis as it is the case now. The more dangerous thing is that we are having a thriving black market. When there is a black market the standard of the product is not certified, said Volcere.

Source: Seychelles News Agency