Crown Counsel Carl Williams. (IWN file photo)

A senior Crown Counsel in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is pouring cold water on suggestions that chronically ill persons would visit the country to receive medical marijuana treatment.

Carl Williams, who has long called for reform of SVG’s marijuana laws, said that with changes taking place internationally, the Vincentian parliament is “in a heated rush to bring three cannabis related bills to the House of Assembly and members of Parliament are busy talking about a glorious medical marijuana industry for St Vincent and the Grenadines.

“One Member of Parliament has stated that with the AIA (Argyle International Airport), St Vincent and the Grenadines would have a fine opportunity to move towards medical tourism,” Williams told an event in West St. George on Saturday, where he analysed the three marijuana bills expected to be approved in Parliament on Thursday.

The Government of SVG and private investors will separately build a hotel each in the Mt Wynne-Peters Hope area, located on the western coast of St. Vincent.

Vincentian diplomat, Ellsworth John had said early last year that the Canadian investors building one of the resorts are hoping to offer medical marijuana services there when the hotel comes on stream.

Meanwhile, Williams, a Crown Counsel in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution, said the Member of Parliament to whom he referred “believes the Mt. Wynne-Peters Hope area would be utilised as a high-end medical tourism facility or a pharmaceutical haven, using marijuana as an ingredient for persons diagnosed with severe chronic illnesses.

“However, in real life the opposite happens.  I am not so brilliant because I would not think that persons with severe chronic illnesses would come to a hotel room in SVG to get medical marijuana, they come to get what is called recreational marijuana, the stuff that the authorities want to keep off the streets.”

Williams said cannabis legislation is moving at a rapid pace and as these laws evolve, the need for members of the community to become informed and engaged is of paramount importance.

“This is the moment in time when you will hear from the experts in botany, law and medicine.  Many will present stories of the medical and monetary benefits derivative of cannabis and a cannabis industry, while a few will still express the old negative racist propaganda which led to the outlawing of cannabis in the 1930s,” he said.

He noted that in 2015 Uruguay became the first nation to legalize recreational cannabis, with Canada following in 2018.

More than 10 states in the United States have decriminalised or legalised cannabis for medicinal or recreational purposes.

In 2012 Colorado and Washington State became the first states to vote to legalise cannabis for recreational purposes and since that time more than eight states have followed, Williams pointed out.

He said Michigan became the 10th state to legalise cannabis, and this month, voters in Utah and Missouri also passed initiatives to legalise medical marijuana.

“The spread of cannabis law has resulted in a reform of U.S. drug policy and how it should be revolutionised, as citizens seek alternatives to draconian punitive criminal justice policies like we have here in SVG that have resulted in more incarceration and support more violence and criminal enterprises.

“Support for cannabis is reaching new heights in this year 2018,” he said, adding that more than 64 per cent of U.S. citizens are in favour of legalization.

“But what is happening here in SVG?” Williams said.

He said The Medicinal Cannabis Industry Act “is much steeper than the hills that the traditional farmer climbs to get to his marijuana fields.

“It is 100 per cent easier to get to the highest point in Morne Ronde and even more easier still to go Fanny and Duvallé”than to surmount the steep requirements for obtaining and maintaining a Traditional Cannabis License under this piece of legislation,” he said, mentioning some of the places where marijuana is grown in SVG, although most Vincentians remain clueless about their locations.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly referred to Williams as the Deputy Director of Public Prosecution.

12 replies on “Chronically ill won’t visit SVG for marijuana treatment — Crown counsel”

  1. Rawlston Pompey says:

    HEART OF A LION

    The suggestion that ‘…medical marijuana for chronic illnesses could be obtain at a hotel resort’ may not only have been ill-conceived, but also overly ambitious.

    No Mr. Editor, not ‘…pouring cold water;’ exhibiting a good sense of reasoning that others seem chronically starved of.

    Undoubtedly, a man with the ‘…Heart of a Lion,’ yet resolutely fearless as a tiger. He was as candid as he was courageous.

    Never heard much about this prosecutor, however, ‘…Three Cheers’ to him.

    Few public officers, particularly, a ‘…Public Prosecutor,’ would have been so bold as to say;

    ‘…It is 100% easier to get to Morne Ronde… and still easier to go to Fanny Duvalle than to surmount the requirements for obtaining and maintaining a Traditional Cannabis Licence under this piece of legislation’ [IWN: Para. 18].

    He was clearly not delusional. Seems it might be easier for a’…Camel to get through the eye of a needle.’

    Though he harbored no illusions, he appeared more brighter than he would wish others to believe.
    There was a clear message to the ‘…naive; …dull-witted; …simpleton; and gullible.’

    These are the ones most easily fooled into believing that a ‘…chronically-ill person would come to SVG to a hotel room for medical marijuana.’

    No way Jose! Only for ‘…Recreational marijuana’ [Para 7].

  2. Takes a grassroot man like Carl to speak openly and truthfully about this entire issue.

    This is why my respect for this man has remained throughout the years.

    Fool ah talk but fool nah listen!!!

  3. What is most dynamic of our people (our culture) is that we are by character a creative and forward thinking, brilliant, experimental, ‘liberated’ innovative society. However, what is most disadvantageous to our progress is our responsive aptitude to gravitate by way of deception, that which have misguided us since in time, the said repetition to the story of that of our current national hero. Will we ever embrace that which were the strengths of our national hero and deviate from that which piloted to his downfall?

    Of a not so distance past, during those moments, days, years of self-empowered opportunity; to the demise of persons, the strugglers who survived through the periods of “the negative racist propaganda,” it is surely not overpowering to read this declaration of a native brother>> “This is the moment in time when you will hear from the experts in botany, law and medicine. Many will present stories of the medical and monetary benefits derivative of cannabis and a cannabis industry, while a few will still express the old negative racist propaganda which led to the outlawing of cannabis in the 1930s,”

    In the moving forward in implementing laws and policies to this venture, our political authorities are astute to the mind-boggling reality of “persons of severe chronic illnesses to come to a hotel room in SVG to get medical marijuana.” That theory is in itself, an appendix in the hope of justifying the need for additional rooms to that of the ongoing tourism AIA project.

    Let us not overlook the fact that, no matter how we waver to the emblem of our flag. The reality is that we have one country with one destiny, regardless of how the laws are twisted within the constitution.

      1. Great C ben-David; it worked. While on the topic of ‘medical marijuana’ why not capture the effect of our Vincy crop. Notice you even ‘inarticulate’ your “resonse”

  4. Here we go again. Chasing behind the facts or did I miss something?
    Whenever a patient goes to the general practitioner and he/he is given a prescription. That person then goes to the pharmacy and get the prescribed medicine. I think this would be the same with medicinal marijuana. The person gets a prescription, goes to the marijuana dispensary, gets his/her supply of medicinal marijuana that he/she can then use at home.
    Now, why are we talking about medical tourism? I don’t see intelligent people traveling overseas just to use marijuana unless for recreation. I don’t know why but our people always seem to be chasing behind the facts. Lies and Lying is a dangerous practice because in the process you also lie to yourself, sell yourself short and create confusion which doesn’t benefit anyone. Or are we just plain ignorant?

  5. I know that lots of states have legalize marijuana for both medicinal and recreational use, however it still a Federal crime to grow and distribute marijuana. The Federal government can arrest and confiscate all assets of the distributor at anytime additionally they can be charged with money laundering.

  6. Again, much ado about nothing (a sentiment that is implicit in Mr. Williams’ remarks) as this marijuana legislation will produce little or nothing on the ground because we are far behind many large, well financed, and professionally organized producers and distributers of medical and recreational cannabis.

    Currently, illegal ganja production is a big money maker for the economy for the simple fact that it is illegal. If it were totally legalized, production would skyrocket while prices would nosedive.

    As for export, neither America nor Canada would allow our weed to enter their countries even if the product was cheap and of good quality because existing producers would lobby hard against competition with their home-grown producers.

    We succeeded with bananas for decades only because of trade and tariff preferences in the British market. We will have neither with marijuana which would make large-scale production and export a non starter.

    All this talk about making money on the legal weed home or export market is a sick joke.

  7. Medical or recreational marijuana use as a economic stimulus is indeed a sick joke being played on the local farmers. We are already too far behind for this crop to make a difference, especially with the government statement that local farmers will not given any financial assistance. If we are going to be creative about our economy and interigate something like marijuana we need to look to Europe. How about medical tourism to capture some of the US$ that is going to Europe for alternative treatement including medical marijuana. A lot of money is spent by Americans seeking alternative treatments not available in the US due to the FDA regulations and restrictions. This is away to attract leading edge treatment for people looking for alternatives to the approved US Government standards. I am sure we can do this at a reduced cost compared to Europe. Medical marijuana is only a part of a bigger solution and can only be an alternative agricultural crop if it’s a part of a greater plan. It is not now and will never be a stand alone option.

  8. Politicians in st Vincent are entering unchartered waters with respect to cannabis cultivation or legalization. Cannabis legalization in St Vincent will not add anything to the GNP. St Vincent does not have any comparative advantage in growing weed. Every country on earth has their own production.

    What will happen is that the crime rate would escalate. We can draw inferences from our own experience with predial lacenry in St Vincent. Ganga man will kill each other in droves as one Ganga man raids the fields of another Ganga man. The need for illegal guns will increase. Crime rate is high as we know it but it will only spiral. Folks mark my words.

  9. What strange irony, if what senior Crown Counsel Mr. Williams has to say is correct and there is no justifiable reason to assume that he is incorrect, that those here who think that will be benefiting from all this talk of decriminalising Cannabis, are indeed least likely to profit from it.

    Do not forget that “Power” was and is always will be, in the hands of the neo-Colonialist and their supporters, be they at home or abroad.

    Is it not high time that such facts are realised? Until Vincentians do this, they will always be used as the cat’s paw. ( tirer les marrons du feu ) Forever being duped!

    ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Monkey_and_the_Cat )

    1. James H, I endorse most anything that you have to say because it occurs to me that you make truly sensible comments here. It is really sickening how a certain charlatan is always insulting people’s intelligence. Our country is in a sad state unless we wake up and face the facts we will never fix it.

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