Medicinal Cannabis St Vincent and The Grenadines
(NEWS784) – The COVID-19 pandemic undoubtedly delayed many planned developments in the embryonic medicinal cannabis sector, as investors and equipment were unable to land in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and important supply chains were disrupted.
Nonetheless, 2020 was a year of solid progress in establishing a sustainable, well-regulated, export-oriented medicinal cannabis industry.
To date, the Medicinal Cannabis Authority (MCA) has received $5.6 million in licence fees from 312 applications. A total of 128 of those applications have been approved so far. The approvals span four distinct sets of applicants:
- 12 groups with an aggregated membership of over 190 traditional cultivators;
- 69 individual traditional cultivators;
- 29 non-traditional local cultivators; and
- 18 companies
Despite the challenges of the pandemic, approved licensees invested over $10 million in 2020 to finance set-up and infrastructure developments, as well as cultivation activities. Investors have hired 80 staff to date and provided steady income to over 150 traditional cultivators.
The MCA has also partnered with a private sector entity to construct and equip a state-of-the-art laboratory to offer scientific analysis and support to the industry. The laboratory will be operational by March 2021.
While cannabis exports have yet to begin, three major manufacturing facilities for medicinal cannabis will become operational by mid-2021.
These manufacturers will purchase and process substantial quantities of cannabis from local cultivators. Further, three additional facilities, occupying over 25 acres of combined greenhouse and outdoor cultivation space are well-advanced in the production of cannabis under controlled conditions.
As of 22 January 2021, over 2,000lbs of optimally dried raw cannabis material was in storage in a secure, specially retrofitted facility. This quantity is expected to increase sharply through the course of the year.
Although our medicinal cannabis industry will continue to remain heavily focussed on export earnings, the Government has approved dispensing licences for five locally-registered pharmacies.
Two local medical doctors and nine pharmacists have received authorisation from MCA to prescribe and dispense, respectively.