National Security Minister, Hermangild Francis, has declared that opposition accusations that the Allen Chastanet administration is dragging its feet on the issue of whether to decriminalise or legalise ganja are unfair.
The former Deputy Police Commissioner asserted that he has shown his commitment to the marijuana issue.
“I have placed my head on the block,” Francis explained.
“For two consecutive years when the Cannabis Movement have had their meetings, I have attended and on both occasions in Vieux Fort and Soufriere I spoke,” the minister recalled.
“We are committed to doing something,” he explained.
He noted that the opposition Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) was in office and the wife of former Prime Minister, Doctor Kenny Anthony, was the person doing the documentation for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) ministers on the ganja issue.
“For a long time that was going on there – they never took any action,” Francis observed.
He told reporters that Saint Lucia cannot ‘jump’ into legalising marijuana.
“Countries like Canada, yes, they can do it – they have the resources, they have the funds so if there is a fallout they will be able to take care of their people.”
But Francis stated that Saint Lucia is a small country.
“We are fighting with health care,” he said.
“If we were now to jump the gun by going straight into legalisation, we don’t know the effect it may have on the minds of the young persons. So we may be causing a problem for our young people,” Francis told reporters.
“So the research has to be continuing, but I think there should be some movement to at least decriminalise small amounts of marijuana for personal use and we can legalise it for medicinal purposes,” the minister said.