Cannabis regulations formed part of last year’s workshops by the Malaysian consultancy firm PEMANDU. The consultants came by way of an approved government motion in November to borrow $13million from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). Participating in the two-week workshops were members of the cannabis movement, and representatives from the government and police. Chairman of the Cannabis Movement, Andre De Caires, told the STAR this week that the outcome was “very positive, and the consultants viewed going the legalisation route as a no brainer”.
He indicated that the cannabis movement and the Iyanola Council for the Advancement of Rastafari (ICAR) provided the consultancy firm with all the necessary information to enable the consultants to put together a proposal to present to the government. “I believe the decision has been made in general,” said De Caires. “They’ve decided, ‘Yes, it is going forward.’ As to why the prime minister hasn’t made an announcement, I don’t know.”
Last year De Caires anticipated an official announcement would be made early January, but that was not the case. “It’s a little disappointing that it hasn’t been made as yet. But when we look at the Caribbean, or the world in general, so many set dates have not been met in so many different areas,” he said.
On the other hand, De Caires says there are signs the government is working toward legalisation. For instance, he says that the ministry of agriculture has appointed an official to handle the issue. De Caires says the movement views this very favourably—a step in the right direction.
Meanwhile, the chairman said plans to establish a co-operative, whereby farmers would come together to sell their crops, is coming along well. He says the first draft of by-laws is in place but some necessary amendments need to be made. After that, the next step would be to register the co-operative. De Caires indicated that assistance is being provided in that regard by the co-operative department in the Ministry of Agriculture.
Following registration, the plan is to begin a membership drive that will target persons who are presently making a living out of marijuana, whether they are planters or sellers. “The co-operative’s intention is to protect these people’s livelihoods. We hope to get it registered at least by the middle of next month, if not earlier.”
A national education programme is also in the works. The chairman says that a meeting is scheduled for next week when, hopefully, they
will dialogue with representatives from the Attorney General’s Chambers, the Bureau of Standards, and the Agriculture and Social Development Ministries. De Caires says the programme will target school children, the police, and also the public at large.
Meanwhile, recommendations presented by the St. Kitts & Nevis (National) Marijuana Commission for use of marijuana were this week accepted by that country’s government.