Friday 5 June, 2020

Felix wants marijuana decision before end of government tenure

Commerce and Investment Minister, Bradley Felix

Commerce and Investment Minister, Bradley Felix

Commerce and Investment Minister, Bradley Felix says he would like a decision to be taken on the decriminalisation of marijuana issue before the end of the tenure of the government.

The government has been under immense pressure from advocates including the Iyanola Council for the Advancement of Rastafari, (ICAR) and the Cannabis Movement of Saint Lucia, for the decriminalisation of marijuana.

According to the critics, Saint Lucia should have been in the advanced stages in relation to the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana.

Felix, who is the point person representing the government on the matter, says this comes with proper regulation.

“My view is that we need to have marijuana under a proper regulated, legislated regime where you can control who uses marijuana, how marijuana is grown and produced in our society,” the minister explained.

Marijuana has been classified as an illegal drug in some parts of the world; however, Felix says there is no truth to the claim that classifies marijuana as a drug.

“There is sufficient scientific evidence to support its use,” Felix declared.

“For no value whatsoever, marijuana was classified as a dangerous drug.”

“At that point, there was an emerging alcohol industry and people behind that alcohol industry lobbied the necessary lawmakers to make marijuana a dangerous drug,” Minister Felix explained.

While he says marijuana does have some negative health issues, particularly in young people, it has been proven scientifically marijuana has health benefits.

“Marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol!”

“It is really wasting a lot of resources arresting people for marijuana,” Felix observed.

The income generated from the establishment of a properly regulated marijuana industry he says can be significant to Saint Lucia.

“The time will come whether we like it or not, Saint Lucia would have to move in the direction as a lot of other countries have done. There is a lot of pressure coming to bear as to the amount of time we are taking; as indicated some time ago, the Commission Report has come to my desk I am currently working with the agency that was leading the commission to put together a PowerPoint presentation to bring to my Cabinet. Cabinet will opine on the position and we will make a decision as to decriminalization, legalization…What direction we will take.”

Whatever the decision, Felix says there must be a strong educational and health plan in place.

Felix made the comments Wednesday evening, during an appearance on DBS’s Newsmaker Live.

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