(SEARCHLIGHT) — Following in the footstep of Jamaica and predicting the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines will be issuing is first licences for the cultivation, manufacture and export of medicinal cannabis products this year.
It is estimated that the newly established industry will generate at least $5-million to the economy and speaking in the St. Vincent parliament last week during his budget presentation finance minister, Camillo Gonsalves said many factors were taken into account to generate this figure.
“This year we have taken account of the time required to establish and operationalise the Authority; the steps involved in conducting due diligence of applicants; the licensing and the establishment of cultivation and production facilities that can meet the necessary legal and technical requirements; and the actual production and export of medicinal products,” he said. “As such, 2019 revenues will be primarily derived from licensing fees, although we hope that sufficient traditional cultivators take advantage of the amnesty provisions of the cannabis legislation to generate some level of export revenue this year.”
He said the industry faces many challenges.
“The space within which a small island state can establish an export-focussed medicinal cannabis industry is narrow and fraught with challenges – from international treaty compliance to correspondent banking relations to logistical hurdles to new burdens on the local education and health care apparatuses,” he said.
Gonsalves also adviced the population to open their minds on on marijuana who has stigmatized growers in the past since it is well documented that the plant has medicinal benefits.
“And I urge those who advocate for a maximalist, unregulated free-for-all vis-à-vis cannabis to open their minds to the historic progress made to date, the new opportunities for living and production, and the social, legal and economic realities within which we are seeking to progress. Only together we can make medicinal cannabis work for the benefit of all Vincentians,” he stated.