St Vincent Parliament Holds Fierce Debate On Cannabis Bill

At 10 pm on Monday 10th December 2019, the parliament of SVG decided to adjourn the debate on the Medical Cannabis Industry bill until Tuesday 11th December 2018

A bill to allow St Vincent to move forward with its Medical Cannabis Industry was tabled in parliament on Monday 10th December by Minister of Agriculture Saboto Caesar.

Government lawmakers debated and stated in unison that the bill when it becomes law will benefit not only farmers but the overall economy.

However, Gonsalves urged citizens that they will have to work hard and smart, in building the industry, noting that there is no “Pot of Gold” at the end of the rainbow.

The opposition lawmakers who participated in the debate had varying views.

Opposition member for North leeward Roland Matthews called for a freeing up of the marijuana, while the opposition leader differed in his position, calling for decriminalization.

In another variance Opposition MP St Clair Leacock apologized for accusing stenographers at the house of assembly for what appeared to be conspiring with the leader of government business Ralph Gonsalves, on the recording of statement he made in 2013.

West Kingstown MP Daniel Cummings called on the government to look outside the box, noting that recreational marijuana not medical will be the new money earner.

“why don’t we look for creative ways to have recreational/medical products made”.

Cummings told the parliament that he is worried for citizens privacy, whereby if they need to access medical cannabis their records must be submitted to the cannabis board.

That statement to which the Agriculture Minister took Umbrage to, is more than likely to be addresses at Tuesday’s debate.

Wrapping up his debate on the bill, Opposition leader Dr Godwin Friday said while the opposition supports the bill, they don’t think it has gone far enough to benefit the average citizen or traditional farmers.

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said the elephant in the room is the corresponding banks. He noted two banks in the United States have written to two local banks indicating to them they don’t do business with any company that trade in medical Cannabis.

Gonsalves said the law is not even passed and persons are already engaged in foolish talk to gain political mileage, this he said is happening because persons have not read the bill.

Gonsalves said the bill covers traditional farmers, along with making sure young persons are not criminalize for small quantities.

Gonsalves appealed to opposition member Roland Matthews to drop his demand for legalization of 2 ounces.

The Prime Minister noted that it interesting that one doesn’t support smoking cannabis,  but is in support of recreational cannabis.

Debate on the bill will continue Tuesday 11th December 2018.

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