THE Saint Lucia Industrial and Small Business Association (SLISBA), The Iyanola Council for the Advancement of Rastafari Inc, The Cannabis Movement and The Herbal Cooperative have all joined hands in support of the legalisation of cannabis as recommended by the Saint Lucia Cannabis Commission.
This show of support is in keeping with the CARICOM recommendations which are aimed at safeguarding the future of countries through responsible socio-legal policy on cannabis.
The aforementioned groups believe that legalisation will create much-needed jobs in the society, improve safety, social equity and generate economic opportunities for small businesses, farmers and others while at the same time protecting consumers in a regulated market.
They believe that a legal environment for cannabis would also alleviate the burden on Saint Lucia’s criminal justice system and allow for the medical as well as personal and sacramental use of cannabis.
“We believe that persons who require cannabis for medical reasons should not be subjected to criminal penalties or jail time for getting medicine they need and can acquire from other OECS islands such as St Vincent. Moderate taxation on cannabis sales would also help fill budget holes which would worsen in light of the COVID-19 Pandemic,” SLISBA, Iyanola Council, Cannabis Movement and the Herbal Cooperative all noted in a joint release Thursday.
“In light of the challenges facing small island developing states like ours, we believe that there is an urgent need to resolve the ambiguity and allow for indigenous business persons and those who have been in the forefront, to begin creating the much-needed economic opportunities which a legal environment will create,” the four entities said in a joint statement.
All four are of the belief that legalisation of cannabis is both a fiscal and moral imperative, which can also assist in dealing with the damage caused by years of extensive and life-changing inequities created by enforcement policies against the use of cannabis.
“We therefore endorse the call for a moratorium on eradication and a sincere apology for the lives lost and for those who have been impacted negatively as a result of the prohibition,” they stated.
As was done in the case of Antigua, by Prime Minister Gaston Brown, the four bodies call for an amnesty to show good faith and for the implementation of a stay on arrests and prosecutions related to possession of small quantities of cannabis.
“Finally, we express appreciation for the Government’s efforts through the Saint Lucia Cannabis Commission and wish to respectfully request that the stakeholders who are already involved (e.g. ICAR, small farmers etc.), be given the opportunity to assist with the proposed Bill which will be submitted to Cabinet in relation to legal Cannabis reform,” the four groups noted.