Antigua shelves plans to allow simultaneous production of marijuana, hemp

May 07, 2021

St John's, Antigua (CMC) — The Antigua and Barbuda government has shelved plans to introduce legislation that would have allowed for the production and cultivation of hemp and marijuana on the island at the same time.

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Steadroy Benjamin, told Parliament that based on the advice of the technicians, it would “be impractical and not workable to have both hemp and marijuana, cannabis being grown in Antigua at the very same time.

“They say there would be the difficulty of cross pollination which would lead to contamination, which would mean it would affect, Mr Speaker, the quality of what was being produced,” Benjamin said.

He told legislators that having heard the debates, the contribution of the minister with responsibility for agriculture, and other experts in the field, “there were many, it was thought fitting that we ought not properly to proceed, but we ought to leave this bill for further research, for technical advice before further contemplation is giving in this particular matter.”

Last December, Antigua and Barbuda government introduced the Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) bill and on January 23, legislators voted to pass the legislation, making it clear that while decriminalisation is a step in the right direction, it is not the same thing as legalisation.

Antigua and Barbuda is among several Caribbean countries seeking to take advantage of the decriminalisation of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

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