St Kitts PM makes pitch for economic use of ganja
BASSETERRE, St Kitts (CMC) – The inaugural Caribbean Medico-Legal Cannabis Conference (CANNA-BLISS) opened in St Kitts and Nevis on Friday with Prime Minister Dr Terrance Drew saying that the twin island federation stands on the precipice of a transformative era.
He told the two-day conference that the new era is one that heralds not only the evolution of healthcare practices here but also a revolution in economic sustainability for St Kitts and Nevis.
“As we convene to discuss the role of cannabis in our nation’s future, I want to take this opportunity to delve deeper into the intricacies of our journey, a journey that not only encompasses the medical field but also resonates with the very fabric of our society and economy,” said Prime Minister Drew, a medical practitioner.
He said the call to end the resurgent war on cannabis is rooted in a profound understanding, one that transcends outdated ideologies and embraces a more compassionate, equitable, and informed approach.
Drew also said a recent court judgement has been a pivotal moment, “urging us to reevaluate our cannabis policy, ensuring it aligns with the principles of justice, humanity, and regional responsibility.
“The stigma placed on cannabis over the years, for far too long, disproportionately impacted specific demographics and communities, leading to the unjust incarceration of our most promising youth. It is a stain on our collective conscience, a reality that demands our attention and corrective action.”
Drew told the delegates that his administration’s vision for the twin island Federation extends beyond the immediate benefits of medicinal cannabis.
“It is intertwined with the very essence of our nation’s transformation into a sustainable island state. Today, I emphasise the vital linkage of cannabis production to not just economic diversification but also to the crucial aspect of food security,” he stated.
He said the emerging global market for medicinal cannabis and artisan hemp products presents unparalleled economic opportunities for St Kitts and Nevis and the entire Caribbean region.
“Our Medicinal Cannabis Authority, guided by the principles of empathy, efficiency, and equity, aims not just for profitability but for the holistic betterment of human health and the environment,” Drew explained.
He further stated that the core values shaping the mission and vision of the Medicinal Cannabis Authority are those that underscore “our commitment to compassion, diversity, empowerment, natural healthcare, alternative solutions, and research.
At the same time Prime Minister Drew urged the delegates to imagine a future where “our citizens and tourists have access to a variety of naturally derived and evidence-based cannabinoid products and services, from cannabis-infused spa treatments at premier resorts to experiencing ganja cuisine on a Gideon Organic Farm Tour.”
“We are not just talking about economic growth but about creating experiential access points that cater to diverse needs and preferences,” he added, noting that the country’s collaboration with the Us-based Southern University “represents a significant stride in our commitment to research, innovation, and knowledge-sharing”.
The Prime Minister went on to say that Southern University, a trailblazer in the field, holds the promise of advancing research, innovation, and the application of medicinal cannabis for the mutual benefit of both nations.
He said earlier this week, St Kitts-Nevis welcomed a high-level delegation from Southern University to further strengthen the collaboration and signed a memorandum of understanding underscoring “our commitment to leveraging their expertise in areas such as crop development, medicinal plant research, specifically concerning medicinal cannabis, and livestock farming.”
The two-day conference is being hosted by the St Kitts and Nevis Medical Cannabis Authority and dubbed “The Cannabis Festival”
Meanwhile, the organisers said the festival is being put on to debate and clarify doubts, reservations, and fears regarding the applicable regulations to the cultivation, processing, and distribution of cannabis and cannabis-based products for medicinal purposes in St Kitt-Nevis.