St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris said last week in his emancipation message that his administration had introduced legislation to decriminalize marijuana. For the same, the government has amended the Drugs (Prevention & Abatement of the Misuse and Abuse of Drugs) Act, which bans the cultivation, possession, and use of marijuana.
Citing emancipation day, Harris added that the proposed amendments “couldn’t have come at a better time than close to this day which symbolizes our freedom and rights.”
Notably, emancipation day — which commemorates the abolition of slavery in the Carribean — is celebrated in the dual-island nation on the first Monday and Tuesday of August.
The legislation includes provisions to expunge the records of individuals incarcerated for small marijuana-related offenses. “Too many of our youth have been criminalized and put in prison in relation to cannabis, and as a result, they have lost out on job and travel opportunities – opportunities to study abroad, a good future and make a name.”
After his emancipation day speech was over, the government announced that it had set up a cannabis core committee that will provide guidance on legalization and the formation of a domestic marijuana industry. The committee will be chaired by Dr. Wycliffe Baird, who has done extensive work in Africa in regard to cannabis.
Reportedly, other members of the committee will also include representatives from the Christian Council, the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the Rastafarian community, and the Office of the Attorney General.
In February, Harris had announced that his government would work to legalize medical marijuana and decriminalize the drug for adult use.