PHILIPSBURG–“I am not a smoker … I never smoked in my life,” declared Member of Parliament (MP) Christophe Emmanuel to dissuade any notion that his strong statements in Parliament Monday about his plan to push for the legalisation of marijuana for medical and recreational purposes had any personal basis.
Emmanuel (National Alliance) pointed out in the plenary session of Parliament on draft 2018 budget that Government can reap substantial benefits from a change in the law. He put Health Minister Emil Lee on notice about this intention to table an amendment to Article VII of the opium act, specifically pertaining to health reasons.
The MP’s stance is the legalisation of the now criminalised herb could bring in more money annually that is needed to cover any budget shortfall and could have helped with the current NAf. 197 million budget deficit. He pointed to the multi-million dollars in revenue legalisation has poured into Nevada in the United States and that Jamaica has recently started moves in that direction.
Government can see some US $60 million annually pour into its accounts from the herb, according to Emmanuel’s calculations.
He called on fellow MPs and the Council of Ministers “to think outside of the box.”
“Many people will say ‘this boy lost his mind,’” said Emmanuel, but he called on all to “just think about it.”
The MP also pushed the envelope further calling on Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin to organise a referendum within six months’ time on independence from the Dutch Kingdom.
“I have had enough,” Emmanuel said, adding that it was time “we grow some balls” and chart an independent path for the country. “It is time we tell the Netherlands to hold up.”
Using MP Theo Heyliger (United Democrats) as an example of what he sees as a system rigged against St. Maarten by the Dutch Government, Emmanuel said to this day, in spite of being the highest vote-getter in numerous elections Heyliger cannot serve as a Minister.
“I don’t agree with his politics, but to this day he cannot be a Minister in his own country … something is wrong,” Emmanuel said. It cannot be that non-elected people determine who can and cannot serve the people of the country.
Borrowing a now popular statement from MP Franklin Meyers (United Democrats): Emmanuel turned his attention to the Prosecutor’s Office, saying “Know yuh place.” Prosecutors should spend their time prosecuting crimes and tackling unsolved cases.
He called on the Prosecutor’s Office “to leave the harbour and airport to Government” as these are government-owned companies. “You don’t hear no Prosecutor asking for the board of the Port of Rotterdam to go home.”
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/76384-emmanuel-wants-legalisation-of-marijuana-independence