Mr. Speaker, sir, my Government has recently approved the policy framework for the establishment of a medical cannabis industry that will produce value-added products for global export and domestic consumption.
The framework includes stringent regulatory and trace-ability guidelines to:
- guarantee the quality, safety and efficacy of the products being produced and consumed for medical use.
- ensure the health and safety of consumers of medicinal cannabis and its by- products are adequately protected, by appropriately regulating the importation, sale, distribution, possession, purchase, manufacture, cultivation and personal consumption of medicinal cannabis.
The four basic pillars of the programme will be:
- Research and Development – positioning the country as an internationally recognized hub for providing training, as well as research and development in medicinal cannabis and value added products;
- The establishment of the necessary regulatory framework, including an appropriate licencing regime;
- The establishment of training and certification programmes to ensure the safety and efficacy of the products produced;
- The legalization of medical cannabis allows Barbados to become a hub for persons interested in structuring financial transactions or domiciling companies involved in the international trade in this industry, in particular, from the Canadian market.
- Expansion of the tourism industry through the provision of cannabinoid therapies, including rehabilitation services and treatments.
This is a fancy way of saying that Barbados must never again export a primary product but rather we must seek to extract the total value along the chain with respect to that product.
A Medicinal Cannabis Industry Project Implementation Unit will be established by the start of the new Financial Year, which will be tasked with establishing the administrative framework for the timely implementation of the project. The Unit will be headed by a Director, who will be responsible for championing the programme and ensuring that an expansive educational and sensitisation campaign is implemented. And that we must take our time to explain to Barbadians what we are doing with the development of this new industry and how it can help many many Bajans in the management of serious medical conditions.
One of the tasks of the Unit will be to facilitate the establishment of a Medicinal Cannabis Authority and Board, which will be responsible for regulating the medicinal cannabis industry, through the formulation and implementation of appropriate policies, procedures and guidelines, as well as for the conduct of inspections. Barbados will be seeking to establish partnerships with entities who have the necessary experience and who are willing to invest in the development of the industry. This will include: (i) The assistance of the University of the West Indies with establishment of a train-the-trainers programme; (ii) The Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Council will assist with accreditation through Caribbean or National Vocational Qualifications (CVQS/NVQS); and (iii) The University of Guelph for the establishment of a research and development, as well as a certification programme.
It has not escaped my government that any policies related to medical cannabis cannot exclude the participation of the Barbadian population. As a result, we will ensure that Barbadian entrepreneurs will be given opportunities for full participation. The roll out of the implementation of activities leading to the establishment of the vertically integrated industry will commence during the upcoming Financial Year.
African Heritage Foundation
The African Heritage Foundation invites you to its Saturday reggae house lime ” Red Light” from 6pm – 12am. This week we celebrate small steps forward in the fight for cannabis legalization. We understand that what has been presented above does not represent the financial well being of the masses. It also does not address the marginalization and incarceration of the Rastafari community through the laws against cannabis. As we have said, policy is being framed to serve the needs of the wealthy. In the meanwhile minuscule consideration is being paid to the rest of us who have been historically, and may I add, continue to have our human rights infringed on by the maintaining of draconian laws that keep cannabis illegal. This law you keep us shackled to, that makes us suffer.
Anyway! In the Red Light tomorrow night we say ” Legalize It”. A night of cannabis advocacy reggae music. Admission $10 all evening. The Red Light is located at “Liberty House”, Two Mile Hill, St. Michael.
Come let us gather, sing and dance to the sounds of Ganja Liberation.