St Vincent and the Grenadines is joining the emerging global market of medical cannabis with plans to amend legislation to allow for the export of the drug.
According to iWitness News legislation allowing for the production and export of medical marijuana could be passed as early as March 2018.
President Ralph Gonsalves said last week that he met with Agriculture Minister Saboto Caesar and legal advisor Pet Sealey and said Caesar will chair a Cabinet committee to discuss the matter further.
“And I am hopeful that by the end of the first quarter that we should have, in the Parliament, a bill addressing the question of medical marijuana — medical marijuana industry,” Gonsalves said.
However, Gonsalves did not address the issue of the use of small quantities for personal use, which he said requires a longer debate and discussion.
“I watch the Jamaican experience. Jamaica set up for the medical marijuana and at the same time, they decriminalise in respect of two ounces for personal use.
“The emphasis seems to have been on the decriminalisation for personal use. I want us to put this matter of medical marijuana as an industry centre and upfront. And I want to see foreign investment in it and I want to see domestic investment in it. Because they have to have the marketplace with the entities responding to the market, the Canadian market, British market, the European market generally, for medicinal marijuana.”
He agreed that systems would need to be put in place for the safe production and export of the product but said he thinks that there was a consensus on the medicinal properties of the product.
He said that conversation is going on, noting that he had urged CARICOM to set up the CARICOM Marijuana Commission.
The Vincentian government believes that with the aid of local farmers and foreign investors, the country can become the epicentre of the Caribbean’s medical cannabis industry.
The Global Medical Cannabis Market is expected to reach a value of 55.8 billion US by 2025, and the Cannabis Industry as a whole is expected to outpace jobs in manufacturing by 2020.
Europe is set to become the largest cannabis market in the World within the next five years with a market of over 739 million people, and a healthcare spending of € 1.49 trillion.