Minister of Agriculture and Food Security in Barbados Indar Weir, and officials of his ministry, recently visited Jamaica to look at what has been done locally, as the Barbadian Government moves to introduce its medical marijuana industry.
Barbados' Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley recently announced plans to establish a medical marijuana industry project implementation unit.
The unit's mandate will be to establish an administrative framework for a medical marijuana programme and bring it to fruition.
Mottley said the unit's director will be responsible for galvanising the project and ensuring that it includes an expansive educational campaign.
According to Mottley, it is necessary to elucidate to Barbadians about what the Government is doing in the medical marijuana industry and how it can help Bajans in the management of serious medical conditions.
Mottley added that one of the responsibilities of the soon-to-be-established unit would be to facilitate the organisation of a Medical Marijuana Authority and Board, which will be jointly responsible for regulating the industry as well as implementing bureaucratic procedures.
With Jamaica further along in the process the Barbadian team travelled to the island to have discussions with officials from the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries.
Weir and his team also toured Epican Medicinal Dispensary at Market Place, St Andrew, where they had discussions with Dwayne McKenzie, president of Epican, to better understand the workings of the cannabis industry and how a company such as this operates, considering it is completely vertically integrated.
Epican is the first company to be granted a cannabis licence in Jamaica, and the first to open a store to serve the needs of the public. It has its own farm in the hills of St Andrew, a processing plant, and the dispensary — so it functions from seed to sale.
Weir was impressed with the operations of the facility, calling it First World.
McKenzie, who said he was elated to host the group, added that the growth of the medical marijuana industry in Jamaica is impacting other countries in the region in a positive way.
— Arthur Hall