ST. LUCIA-Opposition urges government to take a stance on marijuana

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A tour guide shows marijuana growing openly in a flower garden

The leader of the main opposition St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP), Philip J. Pierre, has asserted that this country must take a position on marijuana,  declaring that it is an issue that can no longer be dodged.

Phillip J Pierre

Pierre recalled that the 2016 election manifesto the SLP declared that the party would have a commission to discuss marijuana.

He noted that the then prime minister, Dr. Kenny Anthony, said the island would go the way of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on the issue.

“Now that horse has bolted – CARICOM has gone their own way,” the SLP leader explained.

He observed that Grenada, Antigua and Trinidad and Tobago have all gone their different ways.

“St Lucia must take a position,” Pierre told reporters.

The Castries East MP expressed the view that for a start, the criminal record should be cleared of the names of people who have been convicted for small quantities of marijuana.

Pierre  said the marijuana issue should be considered not only from the point of view of smoking the herb, but from an economic standpoint as well.

“We have to ask ourselves whether there are economic benefits to be derived from the cultivation of marijuana,” he stated.

“We have seen that in the US, marijuana is being cultivated for economic use.”

“We have to decide as a country, if not as a region, whether there is any merit in marijuana being an economic good.”

In addition, he said a decision must be made as to whether smoking in public should be allowed, whether involving marijuana or tobacco and whether it should be a criminal offence to smoke a marijuana joint in the privacy of one’s home.

“I believe that very soon, we will have to take a position,” Pierre asserted.

“I believe that where the world is going, St Lucia will very shortly have to be on the side of decriminalising the use of marijuana,” he said.

Last week, National Security and Home Affairs Minister Hermanguild Francis responded to the local Rastafarian movement and other weed based organisations said that he would soon be reaching out to Pierre to in an effort to reach a unified position.

“ It makes no sense adopting a position only to have the decision reversed with a change of government,” he said.

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