The University of the West Indies (UWI) says it is ready to move full steam ahead in conducting research into marijuana for medicinal purposes as the Barbados Government pushes on with plans to develop a medical cannabis industry.
However, Principal and Pro-Vice Chancellor of the Cave Hill Campus Professor Eudine Barriteau explained today that the local campus was able to do very little research in the absence of the appropriate legislation.
“Until the law changes, there are still some limitations in Barbados as it relates to the Cave Hill Campus conducting that research. For instance, right now we cannot grow any marijuana or cannabis to see what strains would yield better and so we have to have the legislation in place,” Professor Barriteau said, adding that the UWI would never violate the local laws.
“But we are certainly in a position to provide excellent advice to the Government and we know the Government is looking at it very seriously. We think that as an industry and as a crop that the Caribbean has become very noted over the years for all kinds of reasons…as it relates to an economic subsector and as it relates to generating revenue and having medicinal properties, we would want to push that research and to assist the Government in doing that,” she assured.
The Cave Hill Campus principal disclosed that on November 18, noted university professor Leonard O’Garro would be sharing vital information with the public when he delivers a lecture where he looks at the industry with regards to medicinal marijuana.
“The Cave Hill Campus is really pushing that research and has been advising the Governments in a way as to how that industry could develop. But we are waiting for the legislation to actually research. We do research on yams and sweet peppers and different crops within the Faculty of Science and Technology, but we cannot do that hands-on research in terms of the growing of it [cannabis],” Professor Barriteau stated.
She sought to make it clear that the university supports the development and examination of the economic worth of marijuana to the Caribbean.
The professor is therefore issuing a caution that if the country is not careful it will end up getting the shorter end of the stick in much the same way that it has happened with the sugar industry.
“We produce sugar, but Belgium and other places and Switzerland are known for chocolate in the world…never a coco bean grow there. And so, when it comes to medical marijuana and the medicinal aspects of it, we have been producing marijuana for a long time, we all know that, but we have not exploited it for medicine,” she contended.
Professor Barriteau argued that if it is going to be exploited for medicine Barbados and the rest of the Caribbean need to be at the forefront of the development.