Saint Lucia’s newly formed Cannabis Regulatory Commission has held its first meeting.
The long-serving Chairman of the Cannabis Movement, Andre ‘Pancho’ Decaires, told the Times the commission’s first meeting was held on Monday, December 5, 2016 at Chesterfield.
He explained that the meeting put structure to the new body, discussed terms of reference and prepared a schedule for 2017.
Decaires told the Times that National Security Minister, Hermangild Francis, will be presenting a document to cabinet soon to make “everything official.”
“We don’t want to use legalization or decriminalization anymore which conjures up images of people indiscriminately using ganja, what we are doing is creating an improved regulatory framework,” he noted.
Decaires said the members of the commission are working within a time frame of the end of 2017.
However he disclosed that there are certain recommendations that the body wants to fast track and not wait until the end of next year to achieve.
Among these is a moratorium on incarceration for ganja crimes so that persons can be arrested and processed but not held in a cell.
“They can get a court date, be charged and they will have to pay a fine – but no incarceration,” Decaires told the Times.
He said the commission wants an amnesty for people who are at Bordelais Correctional Facility (BCF) for ganja crimes.
Decaires said such a move would free up space for “real criminals” at the BCF and show that the current United Workers Party (UWP) administration is serious about marijuana regulation
He added that the commission also wants permission for the Industrial Hemp Initiative to conduct research into industrial hemp.
Decaires disclosed future plans to hold town hall meetings and community consultations on the regulation of cannabis.
The Chairman of the Cannabis Regulatory Commission is Doctor Stephen King.
Decaires revealed that the body also includes Doctor Gilbertha St Rose and Doctor Marcus Day – among others.