Prime Minister Timothy Harris with members of the Rastafarian community during a recent meeting at his Government Headquarters Office.
Prime Minister Timothy Harris with members of the Rastafarian community during a recent meeting at his Government Headquarters Office.

The Team Unity-led Government of St. Kitts and Nevis has pledged to do all it can to ensure that Kittitians and Nevisians are in no way disadvantaged from the creation of a marijuana industry in the Federation.

Earlier today (Thursday, May 9), Prime Minister Timothy Harris introduced and had read a first time the Cannabis Bill, 2019, in the National Assembly which, once successfully passed, will grant legislative approval for and regulate the use of cannabis for medicinal, religious and recreational purposes in St. Kitts and Nevis.

Prime Minister Harris indicated that in the not too distant future, St. Kitts and Nevis, the smallest country in the hemisphere, will provide a legal framework that represents a most modern and comprehensive response to the issues relating to the cultivation and use of marijuana.

The Cannabis Bill, 2019, will also be the foundation for the establishment of a licensing structure and complete tracking system for medicinal cannabis businesses—a financial and entrepreneurial opportunity Prime Minister Harris hopes nationals of St. Kitts and Nevis will seize.

“I wish to reaffirm today, Mr. Speaker, that non-nationals would not be permitted to secure advantages over nationals of our Federation as we set about to build out a marijuana industry,” Harris stressed.

Harris noted that his Government was reliably informed that “certain international business predators and pirates, aided by unsavoury local elements,” are positioning themselves to venture into plant cultivation, to the detriment of locals.

“We are told that some persons are assuring the foreign interests of preferential treatment to international plunderers, in return for underhanded funding for their ambitious pursuits. Misguided local operatives are promising land giveaways of up to 300 acres to their friends and associates,” Harris said.

Harris made it abundantly clear that the Government has not granted any license to anyone to import plants or seeds into the Federation and that his administration has not had any conversation with any foreigner about setting up businesses to trade in cannabis.

“I also advise our citizens to be watchful and wary of any of persons who are seeking to consort with international operatives to rob us of our patrimony,” Harris said, while noting that his Team Unity Government will be vigilant on this issue and would utilise relevant statutes to secure the welfare of nationals.