The Ministry of Agriculture in St. Vincent and the Grenadines today launched a Cannabis, Research and Development Unit, and platform to conduct scientific research in cannabis.
The authorization was granted by the Ministry of Health in SVG in accordance with its jurisdiction to permit research in cannabis in the country.
The Ministry of Agriculture; the SVG Bureau of Standards, and the University of the West Indies have been authorized to conduct cannabis-based scientific research.
Additionally, it is also anticipated that an indigenous seed bank, a germplasm and a compilation of knowledge specific to cannabis in St. Vincent and the Grenadines will be realised as short to medium term goals.
peaking at the launch ceremony held at the Labour Department Conference Room in capital Kingstown, Director of SVG’s Bureau of Standards, Ezra Ledger, emphasized that medicinal cannabis begins and ends with Science.
Ledger noted that “the depth of research will make or break, the quest to advance a medicinal cannabis industry in SVG.”
Minister of Agriculture Hon. Saboto Caesar warned stakeholders that the cannabis industry cannot be built on; “an emotional feeling that we are the best. It takes dedicated and smart work, grounded in scientific research to reach the international standards necessary to facilitate trade”.
Caesar added that “the genesis of any industry must begin with technology transfer”.
He noted that “our Vincentian traditional cultivators of cannabis have many decades of experience which must be blended with global industry standards to create the scientific platform required for the development of the cannabis industry.”
Senior Agriculture Officer and Head of Research and Development in the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Raphique Bailey, was assigned to head the Cannabis Research and Development Unit. Bailey will be the research supervisor responsible for research involving cannabis agronomy.
Ezra Ledger of the Bureau of Standards will supervise any research touching and concerning plant extraction. In the upcoming weeks, a number of local, regional and international researchers are expected to be involved in the exchange of information and conduct tests on local strains of cannabis within their research proposals.
Rohan McDonald a tissue culture production expert, noted that he was excited to work with, and further research in cannabis as one of the commodities added for experimentation at the Orange Hill Tissue Culture Lab.
Minister Caesar indicated clearly that this process had nothing to do with the Medicinal Cannabis Industry Act 2018 or the Amnesty Act 2018, since they are separate legal regimes which are expected to be fully effected by the end of March 2019.
Stakeholders at the launch included traditional cultivators, representatives of the Rastafarian Community & the Cannabis RevivalCommitteee and the Ministry of Agriculture. Chief Executive Officer of the Cannabis Authority Dr. Jerrol Thompson and Chief Agriculture Officer Mr. Ashly Caine were also present and the launch.