Official release from the Medicinal Cannabis Authority
Kingstown, St. Vincent, May 4, 2020
The Cannabis Cultivation (Amnesty) Act No 29 of 2018 was passed by the Parliament of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on the 24th day of December 2018. The Act is designed to provide an avenue for current illicit cultivators of cannabis to transition to licit cultivators for the purposes of the Medicinal Cannabis Industry through an amnesty. Gazette No.10 of 2020 marked the birth of the amnesty period as the Cannabis Cultivation (Amnesty) (Commencement and Termination of Act) Notice 2020 was published which marked the one-year duration of the amnesty commencing on March 3, 2020 and terminates on March 2, 2021. It is a leniency period. However, it may be extended upon the Minister of Legal Affairs’ direction. During this time, it is strongly encouraged for all persons who want to take advantage of this amnesty to contact the Medicinal Cannabis Authority for information regarding the set procedure for the application, transportation and storage of cannabis.
You may ask who does the amnesty apply to? Pursuant to section 3 (1) of the Act, amnesty applies to anyone who on or before the commencement of the amnesty period was or is engaged in the cultivation of cannabis contrary to section 8 of the Drugs (Prevention of Misuse) Act CAP 284 of the Laws of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Revised Edition 2009 and may be liable to criminal prosecution and other proceedings under the law. This makes the applicant a qualifying person. It is applicable to persons who have cannabis cultivated or harvested who do not meet the prerequisites of the Medicinal Cannabis Industry Act. They now have this period of grace to be able to meet the standards. However, it is not a right for anyone to conduct any activities outside the ambits of either the Cannabis Cultivation (Amnesty) Act 2018 or the Medicinal Cannabis Industry Act 2018 No. 28 of 2018.
One may then ask what does a qualifying person require to apply for this amnesty? Pursuant to sections 4 and 5 of the Cannabis Cultivation (Amnesty) Act 2018, the information the applicant submits may include his full name and address, a certified copy of a valid piece of photo identification issued by the Government, state the location of the land on which cannabis is cultivated or if harvested, location of the storage, the quantity of cannabis under cultivation or stored at the premises, and any other additional information that may be required by the Authority. Please note that is an offence to submit false or misleading information to the Authority and such persons may be liable to a fine not exceeding three thousand dollars or a term of imprisonment not exceeding three months. The amnesty is not only for persons who have cannabis in their possession but also for persons who in the past maybe have been involved in the trade and now wants to apply for a traditional cultivator’s licence. The application fee for that licence is $100 and there is no licence fee for 2 years.
In addition to the Cannabis Cultivation (Amnesty) Act 2018, there are the Cannabis Cultivation (Amnesty) Regulations 2020 SRO No. 7 of 2020 and the Cannabis Cultivation (Transportation and Storage) Notice 2020 SRO No. 8 of 2020 which were published and came into effect on the 3rd day of March 2020 to buttress and flesh out the procedures to be followed that pertains to the Cannabis Cultivation (Amnesty) Act.
“I will use an example to illustrate this point. Farmer Joe makes an application submitting all the required information including an application for security clearance either the Medicinal Cannabis Authority or at an application point designated by the Authority. Farmer Joe may at this point also indicate whether he intends to apply for a traditional cultivator’s licence and his proposed date. He indicated that his lands are located at Chateaubelair. During this period, inspectors may visit the land to check the veracity of the information that was stated in the application. The Authority may then issue a security clearance if the Authority finds that all information submitted, and due diligence report conducted are reliable and sufficient on Farmer Joe. The application will be posted at the Chateaubelair Police Station as this is the district where the land is located. This makes the police, as well as the public, aware that Farmer Joe is applying for amnesty and gives Farmer Joe’s crop a level of protection as the police will be aware of the quantity and it also acts as a check and balance as it allows for any objections or such to be raised by the public about the content of the information contained therein. The application is then recommended and forwarded to the Minister of Legal Affairs who is responsible for its approval. If Farmer Joe is successful in his application, then the Authority issues the Certificate of Amnesty and subsequently gives Farmer Joe written permission to continue conducting any activity pertaining to the cannabis. Farmer Joe will then follow the guidelines as stated in the Transportation and Storage Notice. It indicates the procedure on transportation including the location Sharpes, Chateaubelair where Farmer Joe will be required to deliver the cannabis being the nearest designated collection point next his farm. Upon delivery of the cannabis to that point, Farmer Joe, three inspectors which includes a police officer and the licensee (the purchaser) take the cannabis to a designated place of storage. In the presence of all previously stated, the inspectors must ensure that cannabis is weighed, labelled and securely packaged. The licensee and Farmer Joe must sign to certify that they both agree to the weight and place the code of the seal on the package.”
Following is a list of all the stipulated designated places for the collection of cannabis thus far. Please note that the list is not exhaustive, and it may be amended to incorporate other areas as the need arises:
Trinity Falls Road
Dark View Falls Park
Sharpes, Chateaubelair at the end of the road
Red Dirt, Rose Hall
Spring Village, at the second water tank
Belle Isles, beyond the spring
Larley Mountain, at the end of the road
Bamboo Square, at the end of the road
Layou Mountain Road, above the Baptist Church
Petit Byahaut Bay
Water Tank, Vermont
Francios Road, Vermont
Campden Park Gap to York Mountain Road
River Bed To Carib Mountain, Campden Park
Lowmans Mountain Road, Leeward
Greiggs Mountain Rd
River Fourteen, South Rivers
Dixon Mountain Road, above the last house on the way to Scabby Dam
Langley Park Gap by the bridge
Bamboo Range, Soufreire Road
Overland, above the Clinic
Sandy Bay, on the Park
Owia Road, above the Seventh day Adventist Church
Fancy, above the cemetery
Please be cognisant that although it is a leniency period it is not a free for all, persons who are caught disregarding all the legal framework that has been put in place as you are not captured under this Act or is not a licensee under the Medicinal Cannabis Industry Act No 28 of 2018 you are engaging in illegal activities contrary to the Drugs (Prevention of Misuse) Act CAP 284 of the Laws of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Revised Edition 2009 since you are not accounted for and is doing such at your own peril and may be prosecuted under the relevant Act. Please note that it is an offence to start cultivation of cannabis subsequent to the commencement of the amnesty period if you are not the holder of a traditional cultivator’s licence.
It must be reiterated that the Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines or the Medicinal Cannabis Authority are not purchasing any cannabis. The aim of the Government through the mandate of the Authority is to create the enabling environment to facilitate the process of the purchase of cannabis, that was produced under the illegal regime submitted during the amnesty period, between the amnesty holder and the licensee. This cannabis to be used in the legal Medicinal Cannabis Industry in accordance with the laws of the State. Applicants seeking to apply for a licence are encouraged to contact the Authority for information on the application procedure.
For more information visit the Medicinal Cannabis Authority at Rivulet/Enhams, or its website at mca.vc or call the Authority at 456-8113 or 456-8202.