Lingering suspicion about the injection of medical marijuana into the local market has been identified as one of the greatest hurdles facing the fledgling industry ahead of the second annual Barbados Medicinal Cannabis Conference.
This is the assessment of Cannabis Global Consultants’ managing partner, and one of the organizers of the event, Sarah Seale, who believes Barbados is yet to capitalise on the sector’s economic potential.
In an interview with Barbados TODAY, Seale said the non-profit event would attempt to remove existing stigmas about the medical cannabis industry and draw a clear distinction between cannabis use for healing and its use for other purposes.
“The first hurdle is to get people to accept that this is a medication – it’s helping millions of people across the world . It’s solving the opioid crisis,” she told Barbados TODAY in an interview.
According to Seale, the plant’s usefulness in treating epilepsy, cancer, chemotherapy, physical pain and migraines could not be ignored as researchers continue to examine its use in treating Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimers and diabetes.
“It is a medication, and it has to be taken as such,” she advised.
This weekend’s conference, which is being hosted in collaboration with the Barbados Cannabis Licensing Authority and the University of the West Indies will provide over 25 experts a platform to speak on a plethora of topics.
Barbadian speakers include Dr. Harley Moseley and registered nurse Mechell Marshall. Among the international speakers is founder of the Beverly Hills Cannabis Club Cheryl Shuman, who will be the keynote speaker on both days of the conference. Master cannabis cultivator Shlomo Booklin and international speaker Michael Patterson are also among the doctors and patients in the line-up.
In Seale’s opinion, Barbados is in a powerful position to set the scene for the productive industry going forward noting that the economic opportunities in medical cannabis are plentiful.
“We’re trying to make it as specific to Barbados as possible so they can see all of the different possibilities. If they don’t want to grow and are not interested in the actual product formulation, what can they do? Real estate is a big one. There are cannabis lawyers right now….we’ve got tech companies, distribution companies.”
“There are so many different opportunities for development and growth. So anybody who wants to have a piece of the industry or wants to be involved, there’s an opportunity for them to do that,” added Seale.
The morning session on day one of the conference will focus on the medical aspects of cannabis including diagnosis, dosing, and the difference between recreational marijuana and medicinal cannabis. In the afternoon, participants will receive insight into cultivation of the plant.
Day two will focus on education about the business and investment opportunities of the medicinal cannabis sector including tips on how to capitalise on its export potential.
Meanwhile, Seale has encouraged those with questions and concerns about medical cannabis to lend their voices to the discussion.
“People…don’t ever have to take it themselves, but it should be an option that is available for patients on the island and it is an opportunity for the island to grow economically,” Seale concluded.