Published On: Tue, Sep 8th, 2020

New Foundation for Cannabis Awareness

PHILIPSBURG — The Herbal Awareness SXM group has been the recognized community leader for cannabis issues over many years, including two well-attended public Town Hall Meetings (April 2014 and June 2015), and numerous community media outlet interviews discussing the issues relating to the wide variety of cannabis products. On 17 May 2016, the Herbal Awareness SXM group made a detailed presentation to the St. Maarten Parliament, regarding the need to re-examine the legal status of cannabis, which includes significant potentials in the health and economic sectors of our society.

On 10 June 2020, Herbal Awareness SXM officially became a legal non-profit Foundation on St. Maarten, and with this action, it has renewed efforts to bring awareness, education, and legitimate legal structure relating to cannabis. The founding board members of Herbal Awareness SXM are; Roland ‘Ras Bushman’ Joe, Arun Jagtiani, Josiah Halley, Dr. Jay Haviser and Dr. Dan Johnson, each as experts covering various areas of; medicine, economics, civil liberties, religious practices, agriculture, and social contexts.

It is the objective of Herbal Awareness SXM Foundation, to delve into and investigate scientific research and associated treatment implications and applications of cannabis for the people of St. Maarten, this being done to understand the current opinions/perspectives of the St. Maarten people- providing education accordingly, and to facilitate traction towards responsible cannabis utilization. On 4 May 2020, Herbal Awareness SXM issued a press release whereby we offered to consult with any member of Parliament who was serious about this topic, which later resulted in being invited to meet with MP Claudius Buncamper and MP Akeem Arrindell.  Herbal Awareness SXM has no political affiliation, rather we look forward to meeting with all stakeholders, as it relates to regulating the cannabis industry on St. Maarten.

One of our first direct actions was in early June, meeting with MP Claudius Buncamper and MP Akeem Arrindell, at the St. Maarten Parliament building, to see how the Foundation can cooperate with multi-Ministerial government efforts to investigate cannabis related matters, via a steering committee or other means. Next, was a meeting with Minister of Justice, Ms. Ana Richardson, this week, discussing plans for potential legal frameworks that can be applied, either as adapted laws, or as new policy tolerance objectives. Upcoming are already scheduled meetings with other Ministers and also community leaders.

The Foundation’s subsequent activities include more public Town Hall Meetings, relevant data gathering with presentations, and other awareness-raising activities, such as an educational event in December, with professional experts speaking on ‘how to talk to children about cannabis’. Our Foundation’s strategic goal is to achieve responsible and well-planned de-criminalization procedures of cannabis products, for both medicinal and adult-use, by the end of this year.

You can find out more via our Facebook page:  Herbal Awareness SXM