Antigua and Barbuda, Dubs Canada as “Model,” Eyes Medical Pot Cultivation

The news comes after the eastern Caribbean country – made of two islands: Antigua and Barbuda, decriminalized cannabis possession in February.

So far, each household is now allowed up to four plants at home.

The pan-Latin American Telesur reported that the upcoming legislation seeks to treat marijuana as any other pharmaceutical, and is considering practices and experiences of other countries with developed medical marijuana programs such as Canada.

Canadians Advising Cabinet

It also reported that a group from Canada with experience in implementing medical marijuana “came to the Cabinet in order to advise on the kinds of steps required by the government of Antigua and Barbuda in order to make possible the growing, harvesting, processing and sale of medical cannabis in its many forms,” the government statement added.

Meanwhile, Antigua and Barbuda’s Chief of Staff, Lionel Max Hurst, said the bill should be discussed in parliament later this year.

Hurst, meanwhile, stated medical marijuana is permitted for specific conditions such as sickle cell anemia, epilepsy, asthma,  glaucoma and other diseases, which research has shown respond to marijuana-related treatments.

Antigua and Barbuda’s Chief of Staff Lionel Max Hurst. (Image via Caribarena Antigua and Barbuda)

PM: Marijuana Use “Part of Our Culture”

Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne said marijuana use is becoming more socially acceptable, and it is “part of the culture of the country.”  However, he said:

“I want to make it abundantly clear that my government is not advocating the use of cannabis; we are against anything that is smoked.”

But Browne reiterated that his government’s intention is to eventually turn marijuana into “useful pharmaceuticals.”

Other Caribbean countries are also en route in implementing similar legislation.

Jamaica and Belize have already decided to amend the legislation to allow personal possession of the substance.