Monday 28 September, 2020

Pentecostal Church wants government to reconsider cannabis industry

Reverend Kendell Augustin (left), Reverend Lazarus Eugene

Reverend Kendell Augustin (left), Reverend Lazarus Eugene

The Pentecostal Church in Saint Lucia says it is not in support on the government’s decision to move towards the commercialization of marijuana and is calling on the authorities to reconsider.

This comes shortly after Commerce and Investment Minister Hon Bradly Felix announced that the Cabinet of Ministers had given the go-ahead for legislation to be drafted for the establishment of a cannabis industry in Saint Lucia.

According to the minister, the legislative and the regulatory framework will seek to establish a cannabis industry for personal, religious, medicinal and commercial use, which the government plans to use to improve the economy.

However, according to the Pentecostal Assemblies of the West Indies Saint Lucia District, legalization and commercialization of cannabis will not auger well for Saint Lucia.

“The reasons given for pursuing this course we believe is flawed,” Presiding Bishop, Reverend Kendell Augustin said.

He noted that a letter was penned to Prime Minister Allen Chastanet and the Cabinet of Ministers, highlighting why the religious body is against the move.

“We are being told that one of the reasons moving in that direction is because of the economic benefit, we want to ask a few questions:

  • Is this the best use of our limited land resource as a 238 square mile island?
  • Shouldn’t we look to invest in food security and essential crops? The pandemic that we are in right now shows why it is important to consider certain things like essential crops and food security.
  • If other islands are pursuing this as well, when you have a glut on the market where is the profitability in that?
  • What is the net profit to the nation given the fact that marijuana can have physical and psychological effects on persons who use it and monies will have to be put towards treatment and campaigns that will arise due to this dangerous substance?
  • Is that really the best medicinal option for our island?
  • Why can’t we explore other unique medical options from other products from the island?

The religious leader says with all these factors at play, the government should strongly reconsider its position.

“We are appealing to the people of Saint Lucia, we are appealing to the government, let us hold the brakes and process this, we do believe if its a matter of the economy there are other better options which we are willing to support,” Bishop Augustin declared.

Just recently, the opposition Saint Lucia Labor Party leader, Philip Pierre said he hopes the move by the government to relax marijuana laws is not another ploy by the current administration to get votes from the Rastafarian community, one of the main groups in support of the legalization of cannabis.

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