Monday 30 November, 2020

Cabinet begins process to establish St Lucian cannabis industry

Cabinet has given the go-ahead for the drafting of legislation that would establish a cannabis industry in St Lucia.

Commerce and Investment Minister Bradly Felix made the announcement today (July 28) while addressing reporters.

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

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 legalisation of cannabis coming to St Lucia.

Minister Felix corrected the record and defined what exactly was agreed upon at Cabinet on Monday (July 27): "At yesterday's Cabinet meeting there was consensus with regards to authorising 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 authorisation was also given to look into the expungment of records for people incarcerated for ganja of "less than 30 grams", without violence attached to the charge.

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 legalisation. I have since called on Mr de Caires and said, 'I never indicated to you full legalisation'. 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 formalising that framework."

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