Tuesday 17 September, 2019

St Kitts & Nevis moves to decriminalise marijuana for medical use

St Kitts and Nevis have joined the Caribbean countries who are moving toward the decriminalisation of marijuana after the announcement was made to accept the recommendations of the St Kitts and Nevis National Cannabis Commission.

The Office of the Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis said in a statement issued February 20, 2019 that government has accepted "more than a dozen recommendations presented by the St. Kitts & Nevis National Marijuana Commission in its final report to the Cabinet on the way forward for the use of marijuana in the country".

The Commission’s report was presented to the Office of the Prime Minister on January 10, 2019, which was followed by a meeting between Cabinet members and members of the Commission on Monday, February 18 in Nevis where several of the recommendations were further deliberated upon.

Government did not, however, approve the use of marijuana for religious or recreational purposes.

"I Have just announced in Parliament that the Federal Cabinet has received the final report of the National Cannabis Commission and has accepted their unanimous recommendations

1. The Drugs Act will be amended to develop a medical cannabis industry and allow use for medicinal purposes

2. Anyone caught with 15 grams or less or 5 plants or less will NOT have a criminal charge only a ticketable offence

3. Anyone already convicted of having 15 grams or less or 5 plants or less will have their convictions expunged

4. Use of Cannabis in Public will be strictly prohibited and subject to harsh criminal sanctions

5. Health sector to be boosted including counseling and treatment to ensure care of anyone adversely affected

6. Use or sale to anyone under 18 years would be strictly prohibited and have criminal penalties

7. Massive Public education campaign including in the school curriculum

8. Laws to be introduced to prohibit driving under the influence of cannabis

"This is a significant development done after 15 months of widespread consultations in Nevis and St Kitts. We thank Dr Hazel Laws and the entire National Commission for their excellent work," Harris said. 

In July 2018, the CARICOM member states reviewed the recommendations of the Regional Marijuana Commission and agreed to take the necessary steps in their respective countries to review marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug.

Other Schedule 1 drugs include heroin, LSD, ecstasy and magic mushrooms. 

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