Despite his national security minister’s resistance to the idea of decriminalizing marijuana or even legalizing it, the Prime Minister of Saint Lucia is fully supportive of a commission to deal with the issue. In recent press interviews Philip La Corbiniere told reporters that, left to him, he would not support any such move.
However in a recent interview with HTS News, Prime Minister Kenny Anthony said that he was “pleased that CARICOM has decided to establish a commission to deal with the marijuana debate now engaging the Caribbean Community.”
The prime minister went on to disclose that the suggestion of such a commission had come from Saint Lucia after he had made the proposal to CARICOM several years ago, but it was rejected at the time.
According to Anthony: “We believe very strongly that you cannot legalize marijuana for medical use in one country and not do it in others, because it is going to be chaos in the region. If Jamaica, for example decides to go ahead with allowing the medical use of marijuana and St. Vincent does the same thing, then it is going to have tremendous impact in Saint Lucia. How are you going deal with a Jamaican citizen who travels to Saint Lucia and carries marijuana allegedly for medical purposes but at the same time when he or she arrives at the port in Saint Lucia, he or she is denied entry or even charged?”
The Saint Lucian PM went on to add that the movement of citizens within the region makes it difficult to deal with the decriminalization of marijuana on an individual basis. He also believes that there should be more education on the use of marijuana, as it is also a health issue.
“The consumption of marijuana is a public health issue and must be handled as such. Citizens who consume marijuana, whether for medicinal purposes or social consumption, need to be told in no uncertain terms that there are consequences of using marijuana,” Anthony says.
“Therefore, moving away from criminalizing marijuana to decriminalizing must also mean that we understand we are dealing with a public health issue. That is going to require a different kind of approach,’ he added.
The Commission on marijuana was established at the Twenty Fifth Intercessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM, held in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, in March 2014.
The Commission has been mandated “to provide clear guidance with regards to the decisions to be taken regarding the possible decriminalisation of marijuana for medicinal and religious purposes.”