His Excellency Ambassador Jonel Powell is put out a call for a closer look at the possible decriminalisation of Marijuana in the Federation.
The call was made during remarks at the conclusion of a Rastafarian Solidarity March at the Independence Square on Saturday.
The Cultural and Sports Ambassador stated “The issue of legalising marijuana is one that has taken regional international focus in recent times. We see the decriminalisation and legalisation of marijuana within the region and in some first world countries including several states of the US. I believe that the issue should be ventilated here in St. Kitts and Nevis. There has been quite a bit of research showing the medical benefits of marijuana in relation to hypertension, glaucoma, mental health and other areas. However, I am not here to say that it should be legalised or not. I think that there is a certain responsibility in calling for the legalisation of marijuana. Rastafarians being the ones leading the charge on this issue must accept that the use of marijuana is not limited to them nor is its use limited to religious and spiritual purposes. There are hundreds if not thousands of persons in St. Kitts and Nevis alone who are not rastas and “smoke weed” for other reasons. These persons must be taken into consideration in this debate. The Rastafari community must take the responsibility of educating the wider community on this issue. Perhaps the problem is not so much the use of marijuana but rather the abuse of marijuana.”
The Young Dynamic and Popular Senior Diplomat lamented the fact that resources are often wasted on the prosecution of individuals for small quantities of marijuana for personal sometimes medicinal and often religious use.
Amabassador Powell declared “ I do think that it is time for the government to look at decriminalising marijuana for personal use. Too many resources are wasted prosecuting individuals for joints and small quantities in personal possession. Rather than looking for the outright legalisation, the Rastafari community should work with the government and authorities to draft the necessary legislation to decriminalise. This would undoubtedly be a stepping stone in the success of their cause.”
Powell ended his presentation by congratulating the organizers of the event and encouraged the Rasfarian community to continue to always exercise theur rights to fight for a cause they believe in.
“I congratulate the Rastafari community in its continued efforts, exercising their rights to fight for something that they believe in. The debate has always been brought in a respectful and methodical manner and I encourage them to continue to fight for what they believe in. Just remember that with such a demand comes great responsibility,” Powel concluded
The Solidarity March and culminating Ganja Rally was organized by Organisation of Rastafari in Unity (ORU) .
The Rastafarians in UNITY marched along Cayon Street, down Church Street and across Liverpool Row before making their way up Fort Street and back onto Cayon Street.
The march ended at the Independence Square where a rally was held featuring speeches, video presentations, music and food.