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SVG launches first cannabis consumption lounge

SVG launches first cannabis consumption lounge
MARIE-HÉLÉNE TREMBLAY (left), general manager at Medicinal and Tessa Glass, manager of K Group, Coconut Grove and head of Medicinal’s Human Resources, at the launch of Greenhouse Cafe, SVG’s first medicinal Cannabis consumption lounge.

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PERSONS with a variety of medical conditions such as sleep disorders and anxiety collected their freshly prescribed tinctures, lotions and smokables at the launch of the Greenhouse Café last Friday.

“Tonight we are trying to simplify the access to medicinal cannabis,” explained Marie-Hélène Tremblay, general manager at ‘Medicinal’, the pharmaceutical manufacturer supplying medicinal marijuana products to the Café.

This is why, she said, at the same time as the launch of the cannabis consumption lounge at Coconut Grove Beach Club on May 6, it was decided that there would be a clinic to mark the occasion.

The event was widely promoted on social media platforms and tickets to “locals and residents” were offered at a price of EC$150 and to “foreigners” at a cost of EC$185.

A medical doctor consultation was promised, followed by a St Vincent and the Grenadines(SVG) Medicinal Cannabis ID card and a bag of goodies.

On the night of the launch patrons visited either Dr Jose Davy, Dr Roger Duncan or Dr Francois Truchot after filling out a form detailing their information. The patients presented their ailments to the medical professionals and were prescribed.

They then purchased one or more of the 24 products currently available at the boutique attached to the consumption lounge. According to the product list, prices range from a THC pre-roll at EC$15 to a THC tincture (1500mg) at EC$200.

Tremblay, who is also the chief science officer at Medicinal, noted that there are 20 medical conditions that qualify a person to get a prescription and they are very vague. They may include sleep disorder, chronic pain and anxiety.

The biggest challenge to setting up the lounge, said to be the first of its kind in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) and the Eastern Caribbean – was logistics, Tremblay noted.

There were discussions with the regulatory body, the Medicinal Cannabis Authority, since November, she disclosed.

“We had multiple meetings with them and with the Pharmacy Council to be able to come up with the procedures that would be followed here,” she explained.

The manager of K Group, Coconut Grove Beach Club, and the Human Resources Manager at Medicinal, Tessa Glass said that the occasion was groundbreaking and exciting.

She highlighted the presence of the Minister of Agriculture, Saboto Caesar, and the expected presence of the Minister of Finance, Camillo Gonsalves, who she indicated were fundamental in helping them get to this point.

“Marie-Hélène she has been working non-stop to get the farm up and running to the standard, to get the lab from construction phase till now,” Glass said.

Speaking on the vision of the lounge, she said that it is to “take away the stigma that is associated with cannabis that it is this recreational drug and it is only used for that. It’s not just a lounge where you can smoke cannabis but you can purchase other products…”

“We have tinctures and lotions for people who might be suffering with pain who don’t necessarily want to smoke,” and there are also vapes, she explained.

“There is a lot that we’re providing other than just the smokables but I think, obviously the most popular one is the smokable…” she revealed.

“…With the advice of a doctor, if you are properly using the products, they can be life changing for some people, I think that’s really important to recognise,” Glass also noted.

Their target audience is “Everybody who has a condition that they would like to treat and that is 18 and over. It could be from even elderly people who are suffering from arthritis and things like that, everybody is welcome. We want to make it an environment that is comfortable, that is safe, that it’s easily accessible, you can purchase and you know what you’re purchasing and it’s high quality.”

Tremblay outlined what sets the operation at Medicinal apart.

“We control everything, from the genetic of the seed to the sale of the product. So we have seeds that come with a certificate of analysis. We know that from one plant to the other there’s consistency, it’s not just random. We know that we use the best hygiene protocols, we use the best safety protocols for our staff and we dry at the optimal conditions so that we prevent any growth of mould or other microbials and so the product that we sell is safe and consistent which is a big, big advantage,” she said.

They are expecting to hold another clinic at the Greenhouse Café in two weeks. More information can be found on their Instagram page ghcannabiscafe.

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