Landmark Cannabis Bill passes Lower House

Hhead of the Nyahbinghi House of Big Creek, Elder Foster “King Osagyefo”

The Cannabis Bill 2018 was passed in the Lower House yesterday. The Bill will regulate the production, prescribing, and supply of medical cannabis for patients.

Minister of state in the Finance MP Ministry Lennox Weston emphasized that the Cannabis Bill is not for those who merely want to get high.

“As it stands right now, there are many youths on the fringe who think this is a total freeing up and that they can then walk down rude boy style and blow a smoke in your face,” said Weston.

“We want to tell them that, that is not the case… It’s no free smoke for rude boys who just want to get high.”

The bill will permit Rastafarians and other religious groups to possess, cultivate, and supply cannabis for religious purposes. Weston added that the Cannabis Bill is not only about religious freedom, but also an opportunity for further development.

Social Transformation Minister Samantha Marshall called for the establishment of a dedicated rehabilitation facility.

“No young person under the age of 18 is supposed to be smoking,” said Marshall.

Marshall said that despite the law being the law, she knows that young people “will try things” and that provision must be made for them once they do.

“Right now as it is, anyone under the age of 18 cannot be treated for the abuse of marijuana. So right now, we need a proper rehabilitation facility not only for those under the age, but to extend the services for those who abuse the use of it.”

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Jamal Pringle welcomed the passing of the Cannabis Bill. He said, however, that greater effort is needed to inform the public, that cannabis should not be used for recreational purposes.

“You drive on the road, you see people working… you see that they have their spliff in their mouths,” said Pringle.

“We have to continue to educate the public that it is not legal for recreational use. So I think that between the first bill and this one, that there is some misconceptions where that is concerned.”

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  1. Honestly, I think the Antigua government should just legalize it for recreational use for those over 21 years old. Many states in the USA have good laws and regulations that Antigua can follow on this issue. It’s better to legalize it fully, regulate it closely, and tax it. Use the tax dollars for university development or other important projects in Antigua. FYI, the readers here should know that not all Rasta’s use marijuana.

    One day the people that use too much marijuana will discover that their brains are getting fried. Until then, let’s tax marijuana usage sales and let’s make Antigua an even better country with that money.

  2. these comments coming from knowing both spectrums: as a psychotherapist and from someone who personally knows the benefits and misgivings of marijuana …..from an addiction standpoint – anything can be addictive forming: shopping, sex, education, alcohol, drugs, etc. – it is a cycle learned early in life – the behaviour of having to depend upon something or even someone in order to fill a “void” within ……. the act of reaching out for any substance is in itself the issue …….if there is going to be a “rehabilitation facility” built – then address the entire cycle of addiction – whether it be marijuana, alcohol, etc. – rather than focusing on this one substance …..whether it is for “recreational use or medical use” – the benefits of marijuana have been researched and proven……..personally speaking I would much rather be driving with someone who had just smoked a “spliff” than someone intoxicated on alcohol……those stats are many……let’s treat the cause rather than the symptoms …..step outside the box

  3. Where is the medical cannabis production legislation, and information about how the A&B government will be establishing a formal cannabis licensing authority to attract investment and build an export industry? Legalization for local production for religious purposes is fine, but if the intent is to legalize to build an industry, and the only real interest from investors is exportation of medical CBD, then what is being formalized to encourage that? Local cultivator expertise is a solid opportunity to drive an economic model, but that’s just a starting point. As an Advisory Board member of Hummingbird and Dawa Life CBD, our Canadian based company may have an interest in one day investing in CBD production in Antigua, but it starts with a formal licensing authority and a detailed government backed offering including agricultural land, blackhouse land sites, product certification, laboratory capabilities, human resource data, etc. etc. Use Jamaica as a model. We are there because they are properly prepared and are now already exporting medical CBD. This is the area that provides the most economic advantage in cannabis legalization.

  4. Individuals have been using and abusing marijuana for years now, so therefore legalizing it’s use, whether medicinal or recreational will not bring about much change OUTSIDE of the country’s development. However, one must know that in the long run, the cry of the country will be that too many individuals are smoking which once again isn’t anything new

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