BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, February 08, 2023 (SKNIS) – During his presentation in the National Assembly on February 08, Parliamentary Representative for St. Christopher Number Three, the Honourable Konris Maynard said that the Criminal Records (Rehabilitation of Offenders) (Amendment) Bill, 2023, represents something of a new fresh start for persons convicted in the past and will also help to ensure that St. Kitts and Nevis is not left behind with regards to the responsible use of the cannabis plant.
The Criminal Records (Rehabilitation of Offenders) (Amendment) Bill, 2023, amended the Criminal Records (Rehabilitation of Offenders) Act to expand the offences by which convicted persons’ criminal records can be expunged to include cultivation of five (5) or less cannabis plants or cultivation such that the convicted person was fined or sentenced for imprisonment for less than three years.
Minister Maynard said, “There is hope in this for the young man or woman who perhaps innocently or naïvely [did not realize] at the time the significant consequence of their actions. And we are saying that as a progressive nation that still has a lot to do, we cannot afford to disproportionately affect potential, serious contributors to the buildout of our country, and so this offers an opportunity at least to start with a fresh slate.”
“I want to commend the Government…for attempting in this way, in the first instance, to prepare our society and our community for the responsible decriminalization of cannabis and associated activities,” the Honourable Maynard added.
The honourable minister also voiced his support for the establishment of a sustainable medicinal cannabis industry, noting that, “We must not be afraid to explore the possibilities of the economic returns on responsibly investing in cannabis.”
The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis, under the leadership of Prime Minister the Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew, has signaled its intention to move ahead responsibly with the creation of a medicinal cannabis authority. This was supported by the recent appointment of Dr. Garfield Alexander as the Chief Executive Officer of the Medicinal Cannabis Authority.
The Criminal Records (Rehabilitation of Offenders) (Amendment) Bill, 2023, received unanimous support and was subsequently passed in the National Assembly.