Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris with children of the Mol-Phil Explorers Youth Club.

(Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister)

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — In accepting more than a dozen recommendations from the St. Kitts & Nevis (National) Marijuana Commission on the way forward for the use of marijuana in the country, the Team Unity-led Cabinet intends to put the necessary measures in place to sensitize young persons and protect them from the potential harmful effects associated with the use of cannabis.

Among the recommendations presented by the National Marijuana Commission in its final report to the Cabinet, is the creation of a massive public messaging programme prior to any changes in the law and continuing thereafter to inform the public of the benefits and risks and the potential harm to young persons regarding the use of cannabis.

“In other words, they are saying that they don’t want everyone now suddenly figure that they need to get a high or a boost from this substance,” said Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris during the Feb. 20 sitting of the National Assembly. “There are dangers and risks. The science seems to have now settled that for children up to the age of 24 years the consistent and regular use of marijuana is dangerous for their neurological or brain development,”

The Cabinet has determined that the use, possession and sale of marijuana to persons under the age of 18 years would be strictly prohibited under any amendment of the current legislation.

“The protection of the children will be paramount for the government going forward even as we decriminalize its use for certain specific purposes,” explained Dr. Harris. “We cannot allow the children, who are our future, to be compromised by the use of this in ways that are not healthy for their development.”

The prime minister said the acceptance of the recommendations put forward unanimously by the National Marijuana Commission would mean some fundamental changes to existing laws in St. Kitts and Nevis, which the Cabinet will have to consider carefully.