The St. Kitts & Nevis (National) Marijuana Commission was convened by CABINET and was mandated to accomplish the following four objectives: (1) To conduct a situational analysis and explore the latest evidence regarding the legal, medical, social, economic and religious implications of the use and abuse of marijuana and its derivatives; (2) To engage all the people of the Federation through town hall meetings and focus group discussions to share the facts and ascertain their position on the complex issues of marijuana use; (3)To interface with CARICOM Marijuana Commission; (4) To develop a final report to inform relevant policy decisions regarding marijuana or Cannabis sativa which is still classified as a schedule 1 drug or substance. The National Marijuana Commission consists of twelve members of the public who represent a wide variety of disciplines.
The National Marijuana Commission has already had six meetings between October 6, 2017 to present and has completed phase 1 of its work. We collated the local data regarding number of persons imprisoned and convicted for possession of this illicit drug. We have explored and gleaned the latest evidence regarding the complex issues of marijuana use and abuse. We have also been interfacing with the CARICOM Marijuana Commission. Three members of the CARICOM Marijuana Commission came in country and on November 16, 2017 we facilitated four consultative meetings which they chaired. The National Marijuana Commission is now ready to follow through with the second phase of its work and will seek to accomplish two objectives:(1) To ascertain the position of the people of the Federation on the controversial issues surrounding marijuana use through a series of consultative meetings, and (2) To conduct a national survey to ascertain the prevalence of use of marijuana in the Federation.
In the coming weeks the National Marijuana Commission will be hosting a series of town hall meetings in each health district in the Federation.
At each town hall meeting the latest evidence regarding the medical, economic and social implications of marijuana use will be presented to the people and citizens of the Federation and you will be given an opportunity to share with the commission your position on these controversial issues. The dates of these town hall meetings will be well publicized in the press. We are inviting everyone to come out, bring along a friend or relative, be informed about the issues of marijuana use and participate in this national debate.
The National Marijuana Commission in collaboration with the Department of Statistics, Ministry of Sustainable Development will be conducting a national survey to determine the prevalence of use of marijuana in the Federation. The justification for this national survey is that the study will provide essential information that will inform us about the scale of use of marijuana. In the coming weeks data collectors will be coming into all districts inviting a number of persons to participate in this survey. The data collector will request a few minutes of your time to complete a short questionnaire which is anonymous. In other words your name will not be recorded on the questionnaire. No one will be able to link you with the questionnaire that you completed. Your participation in this survey is voluntary. The objective of this research project is to determine how much of the population use this controversial substance – marijuana/ Cannabis sativa. This survey will inform us of the issues surrounding marijuana use in the Federation.
The third and final phase of the work of the National Commission will involve summarizing the findings and producing the final report to inform Cabinet. In essence, the National Marijuana Commission is taking a consultative approach in accomplishing its mandate and addressing the varied issues surrounding marijuana use and abuse in the Federation. The Commission is inviting everyone to participate at the town hall meetings, be a part of this important dialogue and play your part in deciding how the Federation deals with this important subject.