St Kitts’ new medical cannabis industry will be for “our people to develop”
ST KITTS and Nevis could become the latest Caribbean nation to establish a medical cannabis industry.
Prime Minister Terrance Drew told the St Kitts-Nevis Information Service that the country was behind other Caribbean countries in developing a medical cannabis industry.
Mr Drew was elected the new prime minister following general elections in August.
“Antigua is ahead, St Vincent is ahead, Jamaica is ahead, and we know that people travel to these countries because they would have an industry that is well-controlled, well-monitored and so forth that allows for the use of marijuana.
And so, we will be on that path, and we will see a lot of action in that area within the first year,” he said.
“We have a Marijuana Commission in place and that Commission would start functioning in earnest to get us there.
“We will then move to expunge the records of those who have criminal records for possession of marijuana.”
The PM also said cannabis convictions “should not be used as a means to limit people’s advancement in their own lives and so we will put the necessary legislation in place to get us there.”
The aim of the new medical cannabis industry is to reduce the dependency on the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programme, which offer fast-track citizenships to foreign investors who make socio-economic contributions to the twin-island Caribbean country.
The first CBI scheme was introduced in 1983 by St Kitts and Nevis.
Since then, several Caribbean nations have adopted the schemes, including Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada and St Lucia.
Mr Drew said his aim to ensure citizens and residents of St Kitts and Nevis will be the first beneficiaries of the new cannabis industry.
“At this point in time, we are not looking at any outside people necessarily coming in and dominating this industry.
“This industry is for our people to develop.
“We will not make that mistake, and therefore we will, of course, meet those who are involved in this industry, and we will work out ways of how we can make sure that they are a part of the industry,” Prime Minister Drew said.
“I would say at this time, the goal is and what we will do is to make sure that the local growers are protected [and] our people are protected within that industry.”
The PM also stressed the need for the local economy to develop and become more diversified to help reduce the country’s dependency on CBI’s.
The Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) was established in 2015, with a specific role to establish and regulate Jamaica’s legal cannabis and hemp industry.
The Medicinal Cannabis Authority of St Vincent and the Grenadines was established through the Medicinal Cannabis Industry Act, 2018.
On June 14, 2021, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, through the Medicinal Cannabis Authority issued the first official licence for the production of Medical Cannabis.
The first licence was issued to Grow Antigua – a public/private hybrid company that includes the government, Rastafari communities, and private enterprise as central Stakeholders.