SKN sees cannabis cultivation as a new source of long-term income


BASSETERRE, St. Kitts (CMC) – The government of St. Kitts-Nevis says it is taking the necessary steps to create a sustainable medicinal cannabis industry as the twin island Federation strives to reduce its dependence on Citizenship by Investment (CBI) program.

Prime Minister Dr Terrance Drew, whose administration came to power after the August general election, told the St. Kitts-Nevis News Service there was a lot of work to be done because, as it stands, the Federation is well behind the Caribbean countries on the question of creating a cannabis industry.

“Antigua is ahead, St Vincent is ahead, Jamaica is ahead, and we know that people travel to those countries because they would have a well-controlled, well-monitored industry and so on that allows the use of marijuana. And so we’ll be on that path and we’ll see a lot of action in that area in the first year,” Premier Drew said.

“We have a marijuana commission in place and that commission would start working in earnest to get us there. We will then proceed to delete the records of those who have a criminal record for possession of marijuana. We believe this should not be used as a way to limit people’s advancement in their own lives and will therefore put in place the necessary legislation to make this happen.

He said his new administration will ensure that the citizens and residents of St. Kitts and Nevis are the first to benefit from the establishment of the cannabis industry.

“At the moment, we’re not necessarily looking for outsiders to come in and dominate this industry. It’s up to our people to grow. We won’t make that mistake, and therefore, of course, we’ll meet those who are involved in this industry, and we will find ways to make sure they are part of the industry,” Premier Drew said.

“I would say right now the focus is and what we will do is to make sure that local producers are protected [and] our employees are protected within this industry.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Drew said there was a need to diversify the local economy to reduce the country’s reliance on the CBI which allows foreign investors to gain citizenship in exchange for a significant investment in the socio-economic development of the Twin Islands Federation.

“We need, as a country, to understand where we are with the CBI program and make meaningful decisions so that we can still benefit from it. However, we cannot allow it to continue to be the mainstay of our revenue generation.

Prime Minister Drew said in this regard that his administration has already set up an Economic Council which will guide the country’s development process.

“This Economic Council has to… make sure that we have this development plan and the implementation strategy as well. Because, for example, our economy, the last administration made the economy heavily dependent on the CBI program. We need to seek to diversify the economy so that (the CBI) is part of the economy and we don’t depend on it as much as we currently do.

He said that the Economic Council will be formalized shortly and its composition will then be made public and in the meantime, the government will ensure that the funds generated from the CBI program are used for the benefit of the people.

“We are now saying that the program will now be used to provide what we need in this country. Our power generation is in shambles right now. You have seen that we had to load-shed because the generators are old, they had not been replaced for many years. We had to get there quickly and we had to buy new generators.

“We also need to invest in water (and) these are basic things that we need to invest in because the country has moved forward with housing and so on, but power generation and water have been left behind. account,” Prime Minister Dr Drew told the St Kitts-Nevis Information Service.


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