By Conley Rose
The Cannabis Industry is arguably the fastest growing global economic opportunity. But more key than the substantial economic benefits are the fact that it holds the real possibility of medical treatment and relief for a wide away of diseases and a natural, effective and safe method to treat pain and end suffering for chronically-ill patients.
2018 is shaping up to be a very exciting year for legal medicinal cannabis in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The nations’ Parliament is scheduled to vote and pass the Medicinal Cannabis Bill, 2018 on December . This is a historic and significant moment in our history as a small island state, taking a major step forward, by the introduction of a medicinal cannabis industry.
Challenges and opportunities are unfolding faster than ever, but conversion from an illegal market to a legal and legitimate medicinal cannabis industry with a fully established institutional and regulatory framework for the proper functioning of the medicinal cannabis industry in St. Vincent and the Grenadines would not be easy.
Some companies and institutions will have to make big changes to the ways, methods and approaches in business they have been doing for years.
The establishment of a medicinal cannabis industry here represents a new and emergent industry with tremendous possibilities for turning around economy and placing St. Vincent and the Grenadines on a path of sustained growth and economic development, with the creation of hundreds of jobs, learning new skills and technology applicable to the 21st century.
Therefore, the government must create a favourable investment climate for investors and stimulate and enabling business environment for local participation to ensure the growth and development of a healthy, robust and successful medicinal cannabis industry.
The government has taken the right step in facilitating the development of the medicinal cannabis industry on this island because we do have a competitive advantage in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and St. Vincent and the Grenadines has to capitalize on this advantage in a practical and realistic manner.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines is the largest producer and distribution of cannabis in the OECS and number two to Jamaica in the Caribbean in the production of cannabis. This sets St. Vincent apart and ahead of other Caribbean islands in introducing medicinal cannabis as a health issue, but this must also become integral to diversifying the economic base of the country.
With the invitation by the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines for local and foreign investors to invest in the medicinal cannabis industry, there has been a stream of medicinal cannabis companies blocking to our beautiful island to explore, process, extract and manufacture pharmaceuticals for the medicinal cannabis market internationally.
The government has established the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Medicinal Cannabis Authority (SVG MCA) as a statutory corporation and an independent regulatory authority in October 2018 in accordance with the Medicinal Cannabis Act, 2018, consistent with the UN’s International Treaties on Narcotic Drugs. The Medicinal Cannabis Authority (MCA) is responsible for the registration and regulation of licences for activities within the cannabis industry.
While medical research into cannabis has been severely undermined, there are several important sources of modern knowledge about medical cannabis we can look to understand why medical cannabis is so important for so many patients all over the world.
A new landmark study published in October 2018 by the Journal Drug and Alcohol Review looked at what the patient population of a comprehensive medicinal cannabis program looks like. An impressive 92% of participants reported that “medicinal cannabis helped alleviate symptoms or treat a serious medical condition”, a far better report than most traditional drugs receive.