Saint Lucia Is Moving Forward With Cannabis Reform Legislation

Saint Lucia Is Moving Forward With Cannabis Reform Legislation

The need for legalization in America is imminent, but more countries across the world are also moving forward with plans to end prohibition. While countries like the U.S. Virgin Islands and Bermuda have inched closer towards creating a regulated market for recreational cannabis, St. Lucia’s Minister of Commerce and Investment Bradley Felix revealed that a bill will be drafted for adult use. The news arrives weeks after the Cannabis Commission found a strong case behind the economic benefits of cannabis reform, specifically within the agricultural industry.

Per Cannabis Wire, Felix explained that there’s been widespread support for cannabis reform among Saint Lucians. Since Saint Lucia’s economy highly depends on tourism, citizens believe that legalization in the forms of cultivation, processing, and exporting could be highly beneficial. His conclusion is based on a public census and a government poll that found 73% of 933 respondents supported legalizing cannabis for commercial sale.

“There was consensus with regards to authorizing 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,” Felix said in July. “That also includes looking at personal use, religious use, and medicinal use.”

It’s a step forward but there’s still a long way to go. The final vote on the cannabis reform legislation will be held by Parliament next year before the current government’s term comes to an end, Felix said.

Felix added that he anticipates this topic to reach other parties including the opposition leader and current prime minister, Phillip Pierre. 

“We believe that it is time for a conclusion and closure on this issue while ensuring that the people who suffered prosecution—Rastafarians—benefit from any decision on cannabis use,” Phillips said in June. “This is not a time for politics but reconciliation, good sense, and protection of health and livelihoods.”

Michael Gordon, the Cannabis Commission’s chair, explained that the reforms will include a farmer’s cooperative as the main regulator for cultivating cannabis. This would allow farmers and agriculturists to lead and influence the industry. Plus, the Commission found that this would also open the doors for ways to repair the societal damage of prohibition. 

“Are we going to allow foreign investors to come in where our farmers are going to be used as workers, or are we going to be in the production of the product ourselves,” Saint Lucia’s former Prime Minister Allen Chastanet said in February.

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