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(PRESS RELEASE VIA SNO) – Since the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines made available to the general public three draft Bills dealing primarily with cannabis, many have been anxiously awaiting for the day when these Bills would be first tabled in Parliament.
In an interview with representatives from Acres Agri, who were in the strangers’ gallery for the tabling of the Bills, congratulations were expressed to the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines for the bold step.
Thursday September, 06 2018, was a milestone in the legislative history of the island, when three Bills dealing with the cannabis industry were tabled, namely the Cannabis Cultivation (Amnesty) Bill, 2018, the Medicinal Cannabis Industry Bill, and the Permitted Use of Cannabis for Religious Purposes Act (ACT of 2018).
The Minister of Agriculture presented the Bills for first reading and which were sent unto a select committee. This historic occasion was followed by thousands of persons in the international community as St. Vincent and the Grenadines continues to show leadership on many issues in the Caribbean.
Acres Agri took the opportunity to be present at this momentous occasion. The company has been physically present in St. Vincent and the Grenadines since January 2018 assessing the opportunities available from a possible emerging cannabis industry.
To date Acres Agri has an established office in St. Vincent and the Grenadines located in Arnos Vale. The company has conducted training of one hundred young persons in basic cannabis technology, having conducted scientific testing of several local strains of cannabis.
In an interview with Reginald Spaulding of Acres Agri, he expressed that a tabling of the three bills signifies the government’s readiness to make this industry a reality for the benefit of Vincentians.
According to Spaulding: “These Bills are not just important from a criminal legislation point of view, but important to the socio-economic development of the island. Acres Agri is present and will be following all developments regarding the tabling of, and expected passage of the Bills.”
In tabling the Bills, it was noted that the Permitted Use of Cannabis for Religious Purposes Act, 2018, “is to provide for the decriminalization of the use of cannabis as a sacrament in adherence to a religious practice by such religious bodies as may be prescribed by Order of the Minister.
“This includes but is not limited to, the Rastafarian faith, at their place of worship, and at an event declared by an Order of the Minister to be an exempt event, for the purposes of this Act and for matters and purposes incidental thereto.”
The Cannabis Cultivation (Amnesty) Bill, 2018, “provides for an Act to grant an amnesty, for the period commencing on August 01, 2018 and ending on July 31st, 2019 or such further period as the House of Assembly may determine by resolution.
“This will be granted to persons engaged in the cultivation of cannabis, contrary to section 8 of the Drugs (Prevention of Misuse) Act, and any other relevant enactment, who may otherwise be liable to criminal prosecution for certain criminal offences and other relevant enactment in force.”
In tabling the Medicinal Cannabis Industry Bill, Minister Caesar explained that the Bill “is to provide for the establishment of a Medicinal Cannabis Industry to regulate the supply, possession and use of cannabis for medicinal purposes.
“That is, for the treatment of persons with qualifying medical conditions; to provide for the establishment of the Medicinal Cannabis Authority and the Medicinal Cannabis Advisory Council; and for matters and purposes incidental thereto.”
The three Bills are now headed for the Select Committee.