A marijuana plant in St. Vincent. (iWN file photo)

Minister of Agriculture Saboto Caesar is calling for a conversation on the decriminalisation of marijuana for medicinal purpose — a conversation that has been going on since 2013.

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves raised the issue then and asked the Caribbean Community to look into it.

CARICOM has launched a marijuana commission, which has held consultations across the region.

However, Jamaica has gone ahead and decriminalised the possession of small quantities of the plant.

However, Gonsalves has said that St. Vincent and the Grenadines will act in tandem with the recommendations of the regional commission.

Speaking on Hot 97 FM on Wednesday, Caesar said there has to be a national discussion, adding that this will inform the change in the laws.

He noted that marijuana possession is still illegal in St. Vincent and the Grenadines but noted the move toward medical marijuana internationally.

Caesar said a lot of research has gone into and continues to go into the subject over the past years.

“It will be really crazy of us for us to close our eyes to all the information that is evolving internationally.”

The agriculture minister said it is time for a national discussion and the legislative framework would be informed by what comes out of the national discussion.

“I hope we do not miss the boat. I hope so,” he said.

“But I want to clearly note that we are speaking about marijuana for medicinal purposes; not recreational.”

Minister of Agriculture, Saboto Caesar. (IWN file photo)

Caesar said there are a lot of commodities in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, marijuana being one of them, that have medicinal purposes.

“And I want the discussion to be zoned into marijuana alone but all the things in your backyard that your grandmother used to use when you have a fever, when you have a cold. We’re just allowing these to just go by the way and going and picking up all these new drugs that are in. So it is a whole medicinal industry. I think that is where we need to structure the discussion.”

Caesar said he is against recreational use of marijuana not only because it is illegal now but also because he has not done the health studies on it.

“I don’t have any information about health studies,” he said.

It was, however, pointed out that Strong Rum is legal but he also has not done any studies on that.

“You should hear the stories of the persons who have been treated using the medicinal marijuana,” Caesar said.

“I think it is a start, it is a good discussion. I think there is a great industry to come out of this and we just need to respect each other’s views and have it going. …we don’t want to be left behind. Don’t want to be left behind at all.”

Caesar is calling for a discussion locally half year after it became public that the Canadian investors who are building a resort at Peter’s Hope are also hoping to cash in on the St. Vincent’s marijuana.

Ellsworth John, St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ ambassador to Cuba, who wooed Canadian firm PACE Developments to the country, made the disclosure in a radio interview in January.

“One of the reasons I think they are focused on the black sand is because black sand, the volcano, it’s supposed to have some kind of medicinal purposes,” John said.

“And so, one of the benefits that’s going to be pushed for the resort is the whole concept of medical marijuana. I know they are in discussions right now about different things — Oh, I’m not supposed to say those things? There you are,” John said, apparently after receiving a cue that he had said too much.

3 replies on “Agriculture Minister hopes SVG doesn’t miss medicinal marijuana boat”

  1. Mr. Ceaser seems only concerned about missing the medical marijuana boat and not about missing the marijuana tourism plane, even with the A.I.A in operation. Conversation on recreational marijuana is just as important as that on medical marijuana, there is revenue to be derived from both, and in 2017 it sure is about time we forget the lie on marijuana and live the truth, especially when there’s on average, possibly one ( colloquially speaking ), “weed man” in every home in S.V.G…
    It is surely time we mature as a nation and accept the fact that the weed is here to stay, and the authorities put their legal minds together and forge proper legislation that will be a win win for all, inclusive of legal limits on person and in homes, limit on amount of plants in home garden, no smoke zones e.g schools, recreational parks, etc, so don’t worry Mr. Lawyer man, money still in it for you… And have towns and beaches where ones can fearlessly indulge in the blessed herb without harassment from authorities. Beaches and towns on the leeward coast especialy to the north are well suited for such activities.
    Smell the coffee, or more so smell the herb, it’s time enough marijuana be our modern day Green Gold and play its unprovoked part in nation building… Be careful though, to not make the medical marijuana industry become a case of modern day slavery, the foreigner ruling over the locals on marijuana plantations… not in this Armageddon #FreeTheWeed #BeachesAndHerbs

  2. Why doesnt he rejuvenate the banana industry? The problem with these politicians is that they like to run behind every get rich quick scheme, but ignore proven industries that have been their country’s bread and butter. He not doing a thing to recover the banana industry or get markets for other crops, but jumping on the marijuana boat for potential riches. No vision!

  3. It is well known in the inner circle that a deal was done with Canadians on the promise of them being able to be licensed for medical marijuana. Like Dave Ames was promissed an international airport ready by the time he opened Buccament. Unlike Ames these people will not be fooled and will not start the project until they get what they are promissed. That is why they have not started work yet.

    So Mr Caesa if this about opening up the discussions to get things moving, not many people are writing on the wall here.

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