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Smokers Lounge to be introduced at St. Kitts Music Festival pending successful passage of Smoking Bill

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By Eulana Weekes

St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis in collaboration with the St.Kitts Music Festival Committee is moving progressively to introduce a designated smoking area at the 25th edition of the St. Kitts Music Festival.

For years, organisers pleaded with patrons to desist from smoking at the event, especially amongst the crowd, which had proven to be unsuccessful. However, for the 25th St.Kitts Music Festival, the conversation has shifted, where individuals will be allowed to smoke within the confines of the Smoking Lounge.

The second reading of the Smoking Bill, once passed, will allow for specific areas to be considered designated smoking areas. As it relates to the Warner Park Stadium, the venue for the St.Kitts Music Festival, the Smokers Lounge will be located on the mound. Once the legislation is passed successfully, an application must be made to the Minister of National Security and the police to get a licence to operate the Smoking Lounge at the Festival.

In an engagement with the Press on Monday, June 19, 2023, the Minister responsible for Tourism in the Federation, Hon, Marsha Henderson encouraged smokers to walk with their pre-rolled joints, in the case of cannabis smokers, or for those who are interested in vaping, they are required to have oil already poured into the vape pens before entry. No scissors or sharp objects used for cutting will be allowed. Smokers of cannabis are allowed a limit of 4 joints . There are no limits on cigarettes and vape pens, said Henderson.

“We will operate under strict guidelines to ensure a safe and responsible environment. Access will only be granted to individuals aged 18 and above with a valid Government issued Id; and just to be clear, a valid Id can be a Social Security card, a Voter’s Id, a Driver’s License or a Passport. One of these will be required for entry. It’s not needed to go into the music Festival, but if you think you want to go into the lounge, you would need an Id to access there” stated Henderson.

The groundbreaking initiative, according to the Minister, will be a unique and inclusive space for all individuals to enjoy smoking of cigarettes, cigars, vapes and Cannabis.

“We’re scheduled to have this 4-20 Lounge which would be in a comfortable setting. It would be situated in a separated area, providing a discreet and comfortable setting for individuals to indulge in their preferred smoking activities, of course without disturbing others. Private security would be hired by the St.Kitts Music Festival, to oversee the identification checks and they would be responsible for making sure things go well in this lounge, in this private area. [It will be] a place to smoke and hang out and have drinks, even though we won’t have drinks on sale in this area. Of course I said, “It’s going to be on the mound with a bird’s eye view of the stage.”

The introduction of the Smokers Lounge is a first of its kind, as the Government through the Ministry of Tourism seeks to build out a Cannabis Industry in the Federation. Officials suggest that the Cannabis project will stimulate the economy, create a niche in the Tourism Industry and also fulfil the desires and rights of citizens.

 

“By introducing this area, as a Cannabis-friendly area in mainstream events like the St.Kitts Music Festival, we will be demonstrating that our country is keeping up with the changing attitudes, it would show that we are ready to accept a new culture and cater to the desires of the public and of course, recognise the rights of our citizens, as enshrined in the Constitution and pronounced in the High Court in the case of Sankofa. Also, it would help to make it easier for us to work towards normalising its use in addition to reducing stigma around the whole issue.”

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