Saint Lucia: the legalization of cannabis coming soon ?
Saint Lucia happens to be one of the most restrictive Caribbean islands regarding cannabis legislation. Recently, a legislative campaign was conducted stating that it was explicitly in favour of relaxing the laws on substance abuse. The population is therefore still waiting for the implementation of new reforms.
However, there is some conflict over the implementation of new bills. After the submission of a report by the Cannabis Commission, no action has yet been taken. In fact, an agreement is difficult to find between supporters who want to legalize adult use of the plant, those who would support the decriminalization of cannabis use and possession, and those who do not accept any new reforms.
Allan Chastanet, the outgoing Prime Minister, said, “I think there’s a pretty good consensus and acceptance of the medicinal aspect of it.” In addition, he explains that religious usage is “almost accepted by everyone. The Rastafari movement, to name but one, has always used it in its religious ceremonies and we must respect it in this regard.” , which may seem almost unfair to supporters.
Prime Minister Philip Pierre gives hope to the progress of things, as he says he is committed to implementing things in order to create «a medical and recreational cannabis industry». A statement that counters what Andre de Claires, a former member of the Jamaican Cannabis Commission, once said about progress in the area of “embarrassing slowness.” According to him, Five years have passed, yet although we have several roadmaps to work on, including a CARICOM report, our politicians have failed miserably. They were not able to bring a single bill to Parliament.”
A survey conducted by the Caribbean Development Research Service reveals that more than 50% of the island’s population supports the legalization of the plant, compared to 38% who want to keep the current system.
However, it would be a springboard for Saint Lucia, which has been heavily affected by the health crisis and has therefore suffered from a large decline in tourism, the main economic activity of the island.