SVG hosts weekend medicinal cannabis policy dialogue
FROM LEFT: Norman Dunn, Saboto Caesar, Terrol Mapp, and Dr Jerrol Thompson at the conference
December 14, 2021
SVG hosts weekend medicinal cannabis policy dialogue

THE MEDICINAL Cannabis Authority (MCA)in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) played host at the weekend to seven other Caribbean countries that were engaged in an informal Medicinal Cannabis Policy dialogue organised by the Transnational Institute (TNI).

The dialogue which examined the future for the medicinal cannabis industry and market in the region was held on December 9-11, 2021 at the conference room of the Beachcomber Hotel at Villa.

Chief Executive Officer of the MCA, Dr. Jerrol Thompson, told SEARCHLIGHT that the aim “Was also to foster greater information sharing and collaboration across the region between those countries more experienced and established in the industry and those in the process of drafting legislation.”

Jamaica’s state minister of Industry,Investment and Commerce, Dr Norman Dunn outlined that “Dialogue and conversation is always important and as we seek to responsibly develop a medicinal cannabis industry, it is good to hear the perspective of what is happening in other territories”.

THE FACILITATORS from Transnational Institute

“That is one of the aims of the conference; to bring people together so we can discuss this in a very responsible manner and to see how the industry will unfold as time goes by,”he added.

The Jamaica minister noted that medicines by nature are used to deal with a number of ails of individuals “and the development of medicinal plants, and the constituents of medicinal plants it is always important and we have seen the history of how a number of medicines and medications have been developed especially from plant material”.

He said the world has recognised that marijuana is a plant which has “significant medicinal value, and therefore the development of these products based on their medicinal value will have strong implications for the socio-economic nature of the persons within this region and other regions that are in fact developing the product”.

“Therefore the importance of developing these in a responsible manner will bode well for both cultivators, producers, and the end persons who use the products based on the scientific evidence of the constituents and its implications for disease conditions will add to the benefits of the socio-economic conditions of the people.”

The Director of St Lucia’s Bureau of Standards, Verne Emmanuel, also commenting on the conference told SEARCHLIGHT the workshop essentially, “was an informal discussion on cannabis in that we basically explored the policy direction that CARICOM has gone in accordance to the CARICOM Report of 2018, and sharing experiences with St. Vincent, Grenada, Jamaica, Barbados on the way forward for this industry in the Caribbean.”

He further noted further: “… We have significant established treaties, and this is one industry that we can engender closer collaboration moving forward.”

During the conference, discussions were held on a wide range of industry issues, including greater inclusion of traditional farmers.

The in-person event was considered to be both historic and significant in the number of States and non-governmental organisations which attended.

The dialogue was followed by a tour of several institutions involved in the cannabis industry in SVG, including the Analytical Service Provider Testing Laboratory at Enhams, which is said to have the potential for providing testing services across the region.