The government of St. Kitts and Nevis has introduced legislation to decriminalize marijuana, tying the move to the dual-island nation’s history of slavery. In his Emancipation Day message, Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris said last week that his administration had introduced legislation to amend the Drugs (Prevention & Abatement of the Misuse and Abuse of Drugs) Act, which bans the cultivation, possession, and use of marijuana.
Harris added that the proposed amendments “could not have come at a better time than close to Emancipation Day, an emotionally significant day that signifies our freedoms and rights.”
Emancipation Day, which commemorates the abolition of slavery in the Caribbean, is celebrated in St. Kitts and Nevis on the first Monday and Tuesday of August. Harris said that there is no better time than the holiday “to acknowledge our painful history, take stock of where we are and make amends for past mistakes,” adding that “we owe it to ourselves, to the memory of our forebears and to our future generations.”
Harris said that “too many of our youth have been criminalized and incarcerated in relation to cannabis, and as a result, they have lost out on job and travel opportunities, opportunities to study