BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, March 24, 2019 (CMC) – Barbados has announced plans to establish a medicinal cannabis industry project implementation unit, tasked with establishing the administrative framework for the timely implementation of the project.
Prime Minister, Mia Mottley, who delivered her administration’s 2019-2020 national budget, earlier this week, said the unit will be headed by a director, who will be responsible for championing the program and ensuring that an expansive educational and sensitisation campaign is implemented.
She said it was necessary to explain to Barbadians, “what we are doing with the development of this new industry and how it can help many Bajans in the management of serious medical conditions”.
Mottley said that 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.
The Prime Minster told legislators that the island would be seeking to establish partnerships with entities, who have the necessary experience and who are willing to invest in the development of the industry.
She explained this would include the assistance of the University of the West Indies (UWI) with establishment of a train-the-trainers programme; the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Council will assist with accreditation through Caribbean or National Vocational Qualifications (CVQS/NVQS); and the University of Guelph, for the establishment of a research and development, as well as a certification program.
Mottley added that her government would ensure that any policies, related to medical cannabis, cannot exclude the participation of the Barbadian population and, as a result, her administration will ensure that local entrepreneurs will be given opportunities for full participation.
“We have to trigger and access all of the value-added in the product that we can, so that we are not just exporting medical cannabis, we are looking at the production of oil, which have a higher value-added.
She revealed that her administration has not yet taken a decision, regarding recreational cannabis, saying “that is a decision, we have said, is only for the people of Barbados, by way of a referendum, and my government believes there are more important things that we have to focus on, in the immediate future, before I announce any such date for that referendum”.
Mottley said that the expansion of the tourism industry would also benefit.
“We are looking at the establishment of pain management clinics in the tourism industry, so that we can attract people who want to come to Barbados to recuperate,” she said.