The Parliament of St. Vincent and the Grenadines yesterday passed into law the Medicinal Cannabis Industry Bill, which allows for the cultivation and use of marijuana for medicinal and research purposes, and aims to facilitate the establishment of a modern medical marijuana industry:
Speaking from SVG, Minister for Agriculture Saboto Ceaser, told the OECS that the passing of the Bill in Parliament on Tuesday, December 11 signified the Caribbean island was now positioned to become a globally leading medicinal cannabis hub not only in terms of high-quality production but research.
“The planning of this innovative industry has been carefully conducted over a long period of time in close consultation with the agricultural sector and many different stakeholders to reach the level of maturity we see today.
“There is broad recognition and buy-in of the economic benefits this tightly controlled and regulated industry is expected to bring in terms of direct employment, the creation of support industries and foreign investment,” he said noting that the SVG is unique in that their growing conditions are suited to producing the highest quality grade medicinal cannabis available on the global market.
OECS Director General Dr. Didacus Jules congratulated OECS Chairman and SVG PM Dr. Ralph Gonsalves and Caesar on their bold leadership in the creation of a modern medicinal cannabis industry framework.
Caribbean News Now covered the parliamentary debate on the Bill:
In presenting the Bills, minister for agriculture, Saboto Caesar, told the House that the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of countries has been grappling with agriculture production for many years.
He noted that cannabis cultivation, as an addition to the list of agricultural products from St Vincent and the Grenadines, is a positive expansion of the country’s agricultural sector and that there is an opening for a modern medicinal cannabis industry.
There was plenty of cross talk, especially when opposition parliamentarian Patel Mathews took to the microphone. He reiterated an earlier statement that it was a historic day for St Vincent and the Grenadines, and the day’s sitting presented a unique opportunity to fashion an industry where the traditional cultivators would be major players.
The Parliament also passed the Cannabis Cultivation (Amnesty) Bill, which extends an amnesty to cultivators who might otherwise have been subject to criminal prosecution under the Drugs (Prevention of Misuse) Act.
Drafts (not the final versions) of the Bills that were passed are available online.
In March of this year, Antigua and Barbuda took steps to decriminalise marijuana, but has not yet fully legalised it.
[Image: Conor Lawless]