Saint Lucia Rastafarians would like the Allen Chastanet administration to consider implementing several ganja breaks for Emancipation Day on August 1 this year.
They including setting free persons who have been jailed for possession of small quantities of marijuana.
On Monday, Cabinet reached consensus regarding authorising the Ministry of Commerce and the Attorney General’s Chambers to, among other things, draft the legislative and regulatory framework to assist in implementing a cannabis industry.
The President of the Iyanola Council for the Advancement of Rastafari (ICAR), Aaron Alexander, told St Lucia Times that the organisation understands that the drafting will be with a view to legalising cannabis.
“In the interim, there are certain steps that the government can take to show good faith and goodwill,” Alexander explained.
He expressed the view that this could include phased decriminalisation.
The ICAR President observed that August 1, Emancipation Day, is approaching.
He urged the government to consider liberating persons who are in prison for small amounts of cannabis.
Alexander said the Allen Chastenet administration could also issue a statement halting the eradication of marijuana plantations and begin the process of expunging criminal records for cannabis possession.
In addition, he told St Lucia Times that the police can be instructed not to arrest people caught with a certain amount of cannabis.
“If you say 30 grams, if people are caught with more than that – then of course, you can arrest them,” the ICAR President declared.
He described the proposed measures as ‘little steps’ the government can take to demonstrate goodwill and tolerance.
However, Alexander lamented that Rastafarians do not see that forthcoming.
But he made clear that ICAR is encouraged by the recent decisions made by the government in getting legislative drafters to start working on the process of what the administration says is the legislative and regulatory framework to assist in implementing a cannabis industry.