Saint Lucia, Martinique’s neighbor, will decriminalize cannabis and clear records
It will soon be possible to possess up to 30 grams of cannabis without fear of arrest in Saint Lucia. The government of the island, located just 30 kilometers from the French department of Martinique, announces its political comeback. Labor Prime Minister Philip Pierre will vote on the measure at the next parliamentary sitting. A debate already well advanced, since the deputies discussed the subject for five hours, this Wednesday, in the Assembly.
If the measure sees the light of day, Saint Lucians over the age of 18 will be able to carry up to 30 grams of cannabis on them. They will not be able to consume their weed in public places, under penalty of a fine of 470 euros (the equivalent of half a month’s salary). Minors arrested for cannabis use will be followed by drug addiction counselors.
Another announcement: the erasure of the lockers, retroactively, voted unanimously. Concretely, the government will release from prison those convicted of possession of less than 30 grams of cannabis. This could concern several hundred prisoners, according to Martinique La 1ère. “We know that these measures have affected several people for years”, recognizes the Minister of Justice, Leslie Mondesir.
Satisfaction with the Rastafarian movement
These announcements appeal to the Rastafarian movement, which is fairly well established in Saint Lucia. 2% of the 180,000 Saint-Lucians adhere to this religious culture born in Jamaica, according to the CIA. For years, the island’s rastas were among the first to be affected by the criminalization of cannabis.
“We hope the government will mention our right to consume cannabis, our constitutional rights, our spiritual rights to use cannabis as a sacrament”, wishes Aaron Alexander, a Rastafarian representative quoted by Saint Lucia Loop News.
All of these measures are a first step for Saint Lucia. The island has been trying for years to reform its anti-narcotics law. But she never really succeeded. Decriminalization and amnesty therefore seem a first step. During the legislative campaign, Prime Minister Philip Pierre pledged to develop “A medicinal and recreational cannabis industry“.