April 21, 2023 -The Government of Saint Kitts and Nevis has approved the full activation of the Cannabis Act on 4/20, the internationally recognized celebration of cannabis. By the Cannabis Act (Parts III to VII) (Appointed) Day Order, published in the Gazette today, the Government has signaled its intent to clarify a responsible cannabis use and cannabis derivatives regulation regime within the Federation.
The Cannabis Act, passed in 2020, sought to establish the Medicinal Cannabis Authority to provide for the lawful access to medicinal cannabis as an alternative treatment for persons who are suffering from a qualifying medical condition and for a comprehensive licensing scheme to regulate the cultivation, supply, possession, production, and use of medicinal cannabis. However, until today, only Parts I and II of the Act, setting out preliminary matters related to the establishment of the Medical Cannabis Authority, were activated.
“This is a significant step in the Government’s plan to develop a responsible, professional and sustainable medical cannabis industry,” said Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Samal Duggins. “Our goal is to ensure that the laws with respect to cannabis use are clear for all to understand and can allow budding entrepreneurs to thrive in this new industry. We will prioritize Rastafari groups and traditional growers and seek to support the development of small businesses to take advantage of this fast-growing industry. Today starts our journey to become a 4/20 friendly society.”
April 20, or 4/20 (four-twenty) in its calendar denotation, is a holiday based on the celebration and consumption of cannabis.
On July 28, 2022, the Cannabis (Medicinal Cannabis Licensing) Regulations were published; however, there was no power for the Minister at that time to do so, given that Part VIII of the Cannabis Act was not in force.
With the new Order, the Medical Cannabis Authority will have the legal authority to implement responsible regulation policies to kickstart the medical cannabis industry in the Federation. The Minister with responsibility for the Medical Cannabis Authority, Hon. Samal Duggins, can issue Regulations to guide the industry.
Prime Minister Hon. Dr Terrance Drew stated that “the diversification of our economy involves exploring avenues like the medical cannabis industry, which can provide a sustainable income for our people. However, the Government is also serious about tackling substance abuse and its impact on the society. That is why the Ministry of National Security is finalizing the National Substance Abuse Plan 2023-2028. We are a responsible Government and will always act in the best interest of our people’s economic growth and physical health.”