Wednesday 28 October, 2020

St Lucia Cabinet begins process to implement cannabis industry

St Lucia's Commerce and Investment Minister Hon Bradley Felix spoke with reporters earlier on Tuesday, announcing that the Cabinet of Ministers had given the go ahead for legislation to be drafted for a cannabis industry in St Lucia.

Minister Felix said: "We are here this afternoon as a result of a voice note which, no pun intended, has been blazing up over the social media."

The minister referred to a voice note in circulation from Cannabis Movement of Saint Lucia Chairman Andre de Caires in which he spoke of full legalization of cannabis coming to St Lucia.

Commerce and Investment Minister, Hon Bradley Felix

Minister Felix corrected the record and defined what exactly was agreed upon at Cabinet on Monday: "At yesterday's Cabinet meeting there was consensus with regards to authorizing the Ministry of Commerce and the Attorney General chambers to draft the legislative and the regulatory framework to assist in the implementation of a cannabis industry. That also included looking at personal use, religious use and medicinal use."

Felix said that the setting up of a 'license regime' to govern the industry was also covered.

The minister added that authorization was also given regarding looking into the expungment of records for people incarcerated for charges with "amounts of less than 30 grams, without having a violent attachment to it."

In addressing the 'blazing' voice note in circulation, Felix said: "I can appreciate that Mr de Caires in all of his exuberance, because he has been one who has been at the helm of fighting for a different outlook on the cannabis industry for I think over 20 years, I guess he jumped ahead and shared information with his colleagues and I noted in the voice note that he spoke to full legalization. I have since called on Mr de Caires and said: 'I never indicated to you full legalization, what I said to you this morning was the scope of our discussion'."

Felix explained further: "When a matter is sent to the AG's chambers, what comes out is a draft framework, subsequently it will come to Cabinet but it will have to be reviewed by various agencies, for example the Bar Association and other agencies, in terms of reviewing these things and giving us their feedback. Then we go to Cabinet with that final decision. Cabinet also reviews the draft legislation in terms of going forward to parliament.

So this is where we are. The work has just started as it relates to formalizing that framework."

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