St Kitts and Nevis: The National Assembly of St Kitts and Nevis approved the four bills on Wednesday. Prime Minister Dr Terrance Drew addressed the sitting of the parliament and outlined several aspects of the four bills.
The bills are as follows:
- Rastafari Rights Recognition Bill, 2023
- The Smoking (Designated Areas) Bill, 2023
- Freedom of Conscience (Cannabis) Bills, 2023
- Drugs (Prevention and Abatement of the Misuse and Abuse of Drugs) (Amendment) Bill
While hailing the bills, Prime Minister Drew said that June 20, 2023, is a momentous day in the history of St Kitts and Nevis as the Government has passed Rastafari Rights Recognition Bill.
From that day, the people who adored the lifestyle of Rastafari and called themselves Rasta received constitutional rights through the act. PM Terrance Drew said that Ras Sankofa Maccabee, on May 3, 2019, fought for the rights of Rasta, and then the court recognized Rastafari as a religion. However, some of their cannabis-related laws have been struck down as being infringements of the constitutional rights of Rasta.
Attorney General Garth Wilkin appreciated the Government and said, “If there was ever a manifestation of the words penned by Robert Nesta Marley 40 years ago, in 1983, in his popular Reggae song Rastaman Live Up: “Iyaman live up, Rastaman don’t give up”, this case was it.”
With the passing of a law in the parliament, Rasta will now receive the full Legal right to cultivate, harvest, dry, trim, cure or possess and smoke cannabis as a sacrament for their upliftment or edification at their places of assembly, as per the prime minister of St Kitts and Nevis.
Rasta will get proper access to gains, free of cost, to licences to be issued in the near future by the Medicinal Cannabis Authority. Also, they now have access to tax and other concessions needed to help their farms and other businesses thrive.