Come September, Barbados could add its name to the list of countries which have legalized the growing of marijuana for the medical cannabis industry.
This morning Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Indar Weir confirmed to Barbados TODAY that the long-awaited legislation is now ready and would be brought to Parliament within two months.
“The legislation should be going to Parliament this summer or early September the latest… We started last year, and I am really happy to know that our industry would be coming on stream very shortly,” said Weir.
Weir did not venture into great detail about the finer points of the proposed legislation but noted that local interests would be safeguarded.
However, the Minister pointed out that the one-year period between conceptualization and legislation, is among the shortest time spans for countries to have legalised the industry, a fact which Weir spoke on in glowing terms.
“If you were to compare Barbados to all of the other jurisdictions in terms of starting up, we are way ahead. For example, in St Vincent it took over two years to get them started and I am happy for my colleague Saboto Caesar, [Minister of Agriculture]. We started off last year as a Government with the planning phase and we are now ready to take legislation to Parliament this summer. We are moving at pace to get there and I am happy for what we have achieved in that short period,” said Weir.
Last week Caesar told Barbados TODAY that Barbadians are showing substantial interest in investing in the burgeoning sector in St Vincent.
At the same time he made it clear that even though St Vincent has gotten out of the blocks first, the Caribbean is essentially running on the same team as it relates to maximizing the earning potential from the plant, which is transitioning from an illegal drug to a mainstream cash crop.
With eight cooperatives, representing 150 growers, as well as 12 regional and international stakeholders, the Vincentian Minister revealed that some Barbadians have recognised the business potential and are just as eager to get involved.
“We have seen a trend, this includes the OECS and Barbados, where persons are showing significant and very keen interest in the industry,” Caesar said.
The Vincentian official was confident that the interest shown by Barbadians in St Vincent’s medical marijuana sector would not translate to potential investment being pulled from the soon-to-be established medical cannabis industry in Barbados.
However, in his interview with Barbados TODAY this morning, Weir said he was happy that Barbadians were eager to invest in the medical marijuana sector of this country’s closest neighbour, noting that this development augurs well for CARICOM trade. He also revealed that Barbados has its share of regional and international suitors waiting in the wings for the medical cannabis industry to be legalized.
“I speak to CARICOM, I don’t speak in a vacuum. Our reality is that we must be able to allow free movement of people within the region and if we don’t do that we will only be operating at our own peril,” the Minister said.
He further noted, “Equally there are people from across the region that want to invest in medicinal cannabis in Barbados and there are international companies that want to invest as well. It is an industry that is growing and in six years it is going to be a US $100 billion business and there is space for everyone,” he stressed.