Government ready for open dialogue on marijuana decriminalisation – PM Harris

Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris
Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, March 17, 2017 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, says his government is ready for open dialogue with the relevant stakeholders on the issue of the decriminalisation of marijuana.

Prime Minister Harris, responding to a question while appearing as a guest on WINN FM 98.9’s Voices programme earlier this week, said the decriminalisation of marijuana is a matter for national consultation.

 “We have a submission going to the Cabinet hopefully next week where we are attempting to set up that broad based committee that would look at all of the issues involved in the use of marijuana and all other matters in relation to it, and that will have representation from the Rastafarian community, from health, from law enforcement, the schools etc., and such other relevant parties of course will have input as the commission, if you will, goes about doing its work and hearing from the people,” Dr. Harris stressed.

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Jamaican scientists close to creating affordable hepatitis C drug from ganja

marijuanaResearch scientists, led by Dr Henry Lowe, say they have discovered properties in Cannabidiol (CBD), one of the major bioactive compounds in the cannabis (ganja) plant, that have the potential to provide affordable treatment as nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals for hepatitis C.

“We report here for the first time n vitro studies to demonstrate the antiviral activity of CBD against HCV,” Dr Lowe and his research team —Jamaican Wayne McLaughlin and Cameroonian Dr Ngeh Toyang — state in their published study, adding that Cannabidiol was shown to have activity against HCV in vitro but not against hepatitis B virus (HBV).

On Friday, Lowe, who is known worldwide for his anti-cancer and ganja research, as well as the production of a range of nutraceuticals using Jamaican plants, said that the discovery is a major development.

“This is a new discovery which has fantastic potential for the future, especially for people in developing countries, because there is a drug which was developed for hepatitis C treatment, but it’s over US$85,000 per treatment and very few people in the developing world can afford this,” he said. “So it is very important that we find less expensive means of treatment, and that is why this discovery and its potential to manage this disease is so important.” (Jamaica Observer)

Jamaica gets Cannabis Licensing Authority

Jamaica Observer – The Jamaica Cabinet has given approval for a 16-member Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA), which the Government has promised will be set up to regulate the hemp and medicinal ganja industry in Jamaica.

Justice Minister Senator Mark Golding, who made the disclosure in an interview with the Jamaica Observer on Monday, said members are to be formally notified, and that the industry, investment and commerce; and science, technology and mining ministries were making arrangements for their accommodation.

“At this point, we want them to start the ball rolling [and] once they are notified a meeting should be held,” Golding said.

The authority is one of the provisions of the recently enacted Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act, 2015 ‘Ganja Bill’, which decriminalises marijuana for medicinal, religious, and private/personal use. The CLA will have powers to make regulations for the procedures and criteria for applying for licences and permits as well as other authorisations for cultivation, processing, distribution, sale and other handling of ganja for medicinal, scientific and therapeutic purposes. (more…)

Regional initiative to tackle banking threat

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CARICOM's Closing Statement 2015
Head Table – closing press conference (l-r): CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque; Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda the Hon. Gaston Browne; Chairman of CARICOM and Prime Minister of The Bahamas the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie; and Prime Minister of Barbados the Rt. Hon. Freundel Stuart.

CARICOM Heads of Government have agreed to establish a Committee of Finance Ministers to work with the Caribbean Association of Banks on a plan to deal with the region being unjustly labeled a high-risk area for financial services.

CARICOM Chairman, Prime Minister of The Bahamas Rt. Hon. Perry Christie made the announcement during the closing press conference of the 26th Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on Friday.

“Because in many cases our indigenous banks cannot provide a high level of reward, correspondent banks [in North America and Europe] are closing their relationships with them because of the claim that the Caribbean is a high-risk area for financial services,” Prime Minister Christie said.

“Unless this situation is addressed with urgency, the indigenous banks in each of our countries will be adversely affected in their operations” he added. (more…)

Spotlight on human, cultural, natural assets at CARICOM Heads meeting

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74 Suriname Play No More Stories MAR_3699 resizedLeveraging the Region’s human, cultural and natural assets to enhance the Community’s development will come under focus when Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) begin meeting tomorrow in The Bahamas.

Key discussion areas at the two-day 26th Inter-sessional Meeting also include issues related to Reparations for Native Genocide and Slavery, and the Marijuana Commission.

The Meeting will open tomorrow morning at the Melia Nassau Beach Resort, with addresses by CARICOM Chairman Rt. Hon. Perry Christie, Prime Minister of The Bahamas, immediate past Chairman, the Hon. Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, and CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque.

The Ceremony, which begins at 9:30 Bahamian time (10:30 Eastern Time) will be streamed live on the ZNS TV Bahamas website http://www.znsbahamas.com/ and on the CARICOM Today newsblog www.today.caricom.org