THE OPENING of the first ever cannabis consumption lounge in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) augurs well for the local medicinal cannabis space.
So says Saboto Caesar, the minister of agriculture, who was present at the official opening of the Greenhouse Cafe at Coconut Grove, Ratho Mill last Friday evening.
In addition to being the first local cannabis consumption lounge, it is also the first in the OECS sub-region and offers an array of Medicinal products, from lotions and capsules, to tinctures and smokeables — all meant to be used to provide relief for medically prescribed conditions.
“I think it is auguring well for the medicinal cannabis space in St Vincent and the Grenadines and I’m happy that at the centre of this lounge, it’s medicinal wellness and not recreation,” Caesar told SEARCHLIGHT on Friday.
The agriculture minister said the establishment is fully regulated under the laws of St Vincent and the Grenadines and that all activities at the cafe will be closely monitored by the Medicinal Cannabis Authority (MCA).
Caesar, who is also the minister with responsibility for Industry, added that inspections will take place unannounced and that “everything will be closely monitored so that we comply with the local laws and also international laws”.
Patrons of the Greenhouse Cafe must have a medicinal cannabis card and a prescription to consume medicinal cannabis at Greenhouse Cafe.
An age restriction is also in effect; patrons must be 18 years or older.
“For this to be opened, there were careful inspections done by the cannabis authority and I basically came here to see for myself. I have visited several legally operated medicinal cannabis operations around the world; in Toronto and also in the United States of America and in Jamaica. What I see here is basically similar. I was very happy when I came here that the medical doctor was here and medical doctors were accessible,” Caesar said, commenting on Friday’s opening event.
The parliamentarian noted that the Medicinal Cannabis Industry has evolved over the years, from discussions for its establishment to the development and passage of the legal framework.
He believes that the opening of this first consumption lounge will serve as a catalyst for many other operators making the move to embark
on similar ventures.
“I think that is very important as a policy maker and minister, I am duty bound to state…there is a process and there are protocols and I just really want to wish the operation the very best and I hope that the persons who come here, they’re seeking medicinal wellness.”
When asked of the possibility of an individual without a legitimate medical condition being able to utilise the space, Caesar said “I don’t doubt that persons won’t try (to slip through) because in the nature of life, people will always try to break a system”.
“But I have confidence in the doctors who are here. I also have confidence in the operators, that they will maintain the facility to very high standing and if ever I lose confidence in those first two, I have immense confidence in the Medicinal Cannabis Authority that they will be keeping a watchful eye to ensure that one; there is non-divergence and two; that they are operating within the four corners of the law,” the minister said.