Some ‘black market’ drug dealers in Barbados have expressed an interest in getting involved in the medicinal cannabis industry.
And according to Sarah Seale, the president and managing partner of Canadian company Cannabis Management Resources Inc, that interest should be seen in a positive light.
In an interview with Barbados TODAY at the Courtyard by Marriott, Seale, who is here on the island to conduct a free two-day medical cannabis conference next month, said some dealers had even reached out to her via social media.
“One thing that I have found very encouraging here in terms of the black market growers, I’ve been in contact with quite a few of them, just through the network and through putting on this conference, there’s a lot of interest and they’re very, very interested in legalisation and moving on over into the legal market and that’s extremely progressive,” said Seale, a Barbadian working in the cannabis industry in Canada.
“In Canada we had the black market and they still are to some degree fighting legalisation. They didn’t want it, they wanted accessibility and they didn’t want the big companies and the corporations to come in and basically to take over the industry.
“The gentleman that I’ve been speaking to here and others reached out to me through Facebook and Instagram. They’re very excited for it and they want a part in the legal framework,” she added.
Seale said while one of the dealers admitted to growing the illegal drug for the past ten years, he said he felt he would be better positioned to support himself and his family through the legal channels.
She however, maintained that Barbados was in a prime position to take full advantage of the lucrative market.
The high level executive revealed that once she realised Barbados was exploring the option of medical cannabis, she immediately reached out to Prime Minister Mia Mottley.
“I think it can absolutely be a lucrative market for Barbados. They’re more economic opportunities through medical research and medical products than there is just through the general cultivation and growing,” Seale said.
“It’s not just an agricultural product that is just being grown in the fields. It has opened up the doors to basically every single industry…whether it’s bankers, lawyers or real estate; it is opening up doors for medical research.
“The idea of the value that could bring to the Barbados market, to the Caribbean market, the potential is huge,” she insisted.
Seale said she would love to see Barbados become the medical research hub for the Caribbean.
But while Seale fully supported the idea of Barbados embracing medical cannabis, she said the small island developing state should not consider legalising recreational marijuana just yet.
She revealed that Canada had spent eight years establishing the necessary framework.
“I know it’s a big subject here but personally I don’t think that’s a conversation that should be had in Barbados yet.
“In Canada we legalised on the medicinal side and it took eight years before we had the conversation about recreational legalisation,” Seale said.
“But I think it’s too soon to be having that conversation because it’s very hard to destigmatise. There’s a lot of destigmatisation that has to happen around this particular product…”