Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Marijuana legalization in St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Marijuana legalization

It may finally be happening, the legalization of marijuana for medical and religious purposes in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

3 draft bills have been prepared, these will be debated in Parliament tomorrow, Thursday the 6th of September.
The first bill is an Amnesty Bill, giving farmers a chance to apply for a certificate of amnesty  while surrendering any harvest they may have at that time to the government. This amnesty period is supposed to have started already, and last well into 2019, but that was under the assumption that these bills would have been passed.
The second bill is the Medicinal Cannabis Industry Bill. This aims to legalize marijuana used for medical purposes. This is a very broad spectrum and includes: (a) pain associated with cancer;
(b) severe and treatment resistant nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy;
(c) status of human immunodeficiency virus or acquired immune deficiency
(d) Parkinson’s disease;
(e) multiple sclerosis;
(f) severe intractable epilepsy;
(g) damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological
indication of intractable spasticity;
(h) post-traumatic stress disorder;
(i) rheumatoid arthritis or any similar chronic autoimmune
inflammatory disorder with severe or debilitating conditions;
(j) autism;
(k) glaucoma;
(l) sickle cell anaemia;
(m) anxiety;
(n) sleep disorders;
(o) chronic pain;
(p) Alzheimer’s disease;
(q) Crohn’s disease;
(r) Hepatitis B;
(s) Dravett’s syndrome; and
(t) any other illness or condition declared by the Minister, acting on the
advice of the Council, by order published in the Gazette, to be a qualifying
medical condition;

What this means for the farmer: Once the farmer has the above certificate he or she can apply for a traditional cultivation license. With that it will be legal to grow, harvest, dry, trim, and package marijuana for medical purposes.

To make this economically as feasible an undertaking as it is now the marijuana farmer will need a purchaser of the product in bulk. And this is where in my opinion the glitch is, as this will involve big money. Medical marijuana is already a booming business and growing for big pharmaceutical companies. Chances are that they will simply take over the entire medical marijuana industry in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines with no or only slight benefits to Vincentians.
This same bill covers a whole lot of other licenses: Types of licences.
(a) a cultivation licence, which shall be issued to allow for the growing, harvesting, drying,
trimming, curing or packaging of medicinal cannabis;
(b) a research licence, which shall be issued to allow for the conduct of scientific
research relating to the development of medicinal cannabis;
(c) a manufacturer licence, which shall be issued to allow for activities relating to the
processing and manufacturing of cannabis material and medicinal cannabis products,
including but not limited to, edibles and other derivatives;
(d) a dispensing licence, which shall be issued to allow for the dispensing of
medicinal cannabis to patients;
(e) an import licence, which shall be issued to allow for the importation of
medicinal cannabis products and planting material from any country where it is
legal so to do;
(f) an export licence, which shall be issued to allow for the exportation of
medicinal cannabis to any country in keeping with the laws of any such country;
(g) a transport licence, which shall be issued to allow for the transport of medicinal
cannabis; and
(h) a traditional cultivator’s licence, which shall be issued solely to citizen of Saint
Vincent and the Grenadines, to grow, harvest, dry, trim, cure or package

The third act is the Permitted use of Cannabis for religious purposes bill, which simply permits rastafarians for example to use marijuana at their churches/ceremonies or events.

Comments on these Bills are still invited, you can send them to:
Hon. Attorney General
    Ministry of Legal Affairs
    Methodist Church Building
    Tel: 1 784 457-2586

You can view the bills in full here:

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