Written by 7:59 pm Food

Green light – Barbados Today

By December, near 30 medical cannabis licences are set to be issued by authorities here, leading to several marijuana farms and other businesses starting operations next 12 months.

Word of this has come from Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Medicinal Cannabis Licensing Authority (BMCLA), Senator Shanika Roberts-Odle who said that to date this 12 months, two licensees have been issued with nine licences spanning all categories of operation inside the industry.

While she didn’t indicate what areas the new licences can be approved for, Roberts-Odle hinted that cultivation can be amongst them.

“Up to now, we’ve had two licensees who’ve been approved and into the market. One is a vertically integrated company with seven licences, and the opposite is a smaller affair who has been approved for 2 licences.

“We anticipate by the tip of this 12 months that there will likely be 12 licensees with a complete of 29 licences up and running in Barbados. We anticipate that they may have their actual farms and businesses up and running by 2023,” she announced.

Roberts-Odle made the disclosures on Monday on the Barbados/Carolina connection business roundtable on the Hilton Resort, which brought together local business and university representatives and business owners from the USA within the medical marijuana, real estate, agriculture, food and beverage, and cultural industries, to explore trade and investment opportunities in Bridgetown and Charleston, South Carolina.

She told the participants that based on recent estimates by some local and international financial institutions, investors within the medicinal cannabis industry could expect to see returns of as much as $2 million annually once they’re fully established and doing business in Barbados.

“We’ve passed through the numbers. We’ve spoken with several individuals all through the financial sector and internationally about what the probabilities are for this particular sector. For anyone with a vertically integrated set-up, among the estimates that we’ve received have indicated that when you’ve reached that time, there may be a $2 million possible return per 12 months,” she said.

Under the present medical cannabis industry regulations, individuals are in a position to apply to the BMCLA for five-year licences within the categories of laboratory work, import and export, research and development, transportation, cultivation, processing, and retail distribution.

Once all of the required documents are submitted together with the appliance, it could take as much as 4 months for a licence to be approved. In each category, there are numerous levels which are a magnet for different fees. A business is required to pay a minimum of 60 per cent of the fees to be able to receive the licence.

As much as the tip of July this 12 months, there have been close to twenty applications before the BMCLA with requests for 38 licences across the varied categories.

During her presentation on the business roundtable, Roberts-Odle informed the visiting delegation concerning the various opportunities available within the local medicinal cannabis industry, noting that “while we do consider in earning profits, we’re about patient care and patient-centric”.

She stressed that Barbadians are to be allowed a minimum of a 30 per cent stake in any company arrange within the industry here, except within the areas of research and development and laboratory.

Roberts-Odle added that while Barbados was unable to compete on scale, it could compete within the areas of research and development and the creation of area of interest areas.

“We would like you to return into our area. We would like to proceed to take a look at the unique features of what may be done in Barbados,” she told the potential investors while indicating that the country was fascinated about quality and each small and enormous investors.

“We’re making a full ecosystem for our smaller players. We would like big players, we also want local players and smaller players to succeed. Henceforth, we’ve spent our time creating specialised training and creating access to training, technical assistance and access to technical inputs. We’re continuing to work in those areas,” she said.

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