Medicinal cannabis venture Cannavais attributes its strong start in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to the ULP Government’s proactive approach to foreign investment.
The Unity Labour Party (ULP), led by Hon. Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, has taken measures to successfully position the country to capitalise on the opportunities that the international medicinal cannabis sector is expected to bring.
Medicinal cannabis can now be legally prescribed in many countries around the world, including the UK, Canada and in over 30 states in the US, prompting expectations that world-wide patient use will increase as forecast.
To continue building on the progress that the Islands have seen over the past decade, the ULP introduced the Medicinal Cannabis Industry Act, 2018 and established the Medicinal Cannabis Authority (MCA) in 2019.
The MCA is the body responsible for regulating the cultivation, supply, possession, production and use of cannabis for medicinal purposes. Cannavais was amongst the first foreign investors to be issued a license by the MCA, this mementos step in Cannavais’ development allows them to begin the cultivation and manufacturing of medicinal cannabis and premium cannabis genetics on the island of St Vincent.
Simon Robins, Head of PR and Marketing at Cannavais, explained how the government has been a key part in the company’s establishment; “From the very beginning, we recognised how important working together with traditional cultivators and the government would be.
These relationships are proving vital in building a long-term and successful local industry. The ULP’s forward-thinking approach to the medicinal cannabis industry has made St Vincent an attractive place for Cannavais, and other foreign companies, to invest and set up operations.”
The company’s co-operative initiative has been a key part of their plans to produce premium quality medicinal cannabis products for the international export market. Cannavais has chosen St Vincent and the Grenadines to invest in largely due to its long-standing history with traditional cultivators, and the optimum cultivation conditions it provides.
But also, the ULP government recognises the benefits companies like Cannavais can bring to the local community and have been proactive in building strong relationships with foreign investors. Simon Robins further noted “The assistance of government officials like Minister Saboto Caesar and the work of the MCA, both of whom have worked tirelessly in providing the assistance and framework required to build a successful industry has to be commended. It is very encouraging to see the level of commitment the ULP and MCA has put into driving the medicinal cannabis industry forward.”
After the spread of Black Sigatoka that resulted in the decimation of the Islands’ banana industry in 2013, the Island’s agricultural sector has required much diversification. The ULP identified the emerging medicinal cannabis sector as an opportunity to re-establish and develop the Islands’ agriculture industry.
The concept to legalise medicinal cannabis on the Island was identified by Hon. Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves many years ago, and at a time when not many others in the world recognised the opportunity and benefits medicinal cannabis could bring. The ULP government recognised the industry as an effective way of making use of the country’s natural agricultural resources, history and climate to increase foreign investment, creating both opportunities for the country and its citizens. A step that has gained investment from foreign companies and grown the Islands’ international reputation.
Earlier this year, St Vincent and the Grenadines was elected by the UN General Assembly to the Security Council. With an island population of around 110,000, it is the smallest nation to ever be selected for a non-permanent seat.
Simon Robins commented, “This being another example of the ULP government’s success in building the international reputation of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and evidence the country provides great potential for growth and for its citizens to prosper.”