The administration of Dr. Timothy Harris has hailed a decision that aims at decriminalizing small amounts of cannabis for medical use and other purposes in St. Kitts-Nevis. This step will consolidate the twin Island’s freedom from slavery.
In a message to Mark Emancipation Day on August 5, Prime Minister Harris said that the previous week, his administration had introduced a legislation in parliament to amend the Prohibitive Drugs Act. This act is dated back to a predecessor law of 1937 and forbids use, possession, and cultivation of cannabis.
Harris added that something important to note is the insertion of a new subsection (3) in section 7. The subsection is subject to subsection (1) and states that someone may apply for a cannabis cultivation license to the minister through the council. Harris also said that the Emancipation Day was ideal for announcing this, as the day is emotionally significant in signifying freedoms and rights.
However, Harris lamented that too many youths had been incarcerated and criminalized in relation to marijuana. As a result, these youths have lost job, travel, and study opportunities, as well as a good future and name.
The new coalition government legislation seeks to expunge the records of criminalized persons and give people fresh start in a new cannabis enlightenment and engagement era. As criminal cannabis decriminalization happens, the health and welfare of children would also be protected.
Making the statement, Harris felt that three would be no better time to acknowledge the painful history and amend past mistakes than now.
Since then, the government has announced the formation of broad-based Cannabis Core Committee of experts who would offer technical support to advance cannabis decriminalization further, and as well establish a cannabis industry in the federation.
Talking to legislators late last month, Harris said that the establishment of a modern industry calls for a lot of preparation and work, especially if the industry has been part of conflicting ideas on product use, legitimacy, and legality. With this, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done.
Harris announced that Dr. Wycliffe Baird would be the committee’s chairman. Baird has been involved with the St. Vincent government and the Grenadines with the marijuana legalization and industry. He has had similar roles in Africa, and hence comes to the committee already knowledgeable and prepared to handle the demanding tasks.
Other committee members have been drawn from the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the office of the Attorney General, the Youth, the Rastafarian community, and the Christian Council, among other experts in the industry.