[Reprinted: Jamaica Observer, 12-3-2020]
The Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Medicinal Cannabis Licensing Authority (BCLA), Dr Shantal Munro-Knight says the Mia Mottley led administration is moving ahead with plans to develop a medicinal cannabis industry.
Speaking with Barbados Today, Munro-Knight said that despite some setbacks attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, interest in the lucrative industry remains extremely high among prospective investors, who will be able to submit applications and proposals as early as January.
She said that international investors are showing the greatest interest, but stressed that locals should not be discouraged by the perceived high costs associated with the sector.
According to Munro-Knight, in some cases, the cost of licences is five times cheaper than those in other Caribbean countries and the BCLA has been working to reduce infrastructural costs and procedural inefficiencies that have made life very difficult for locals in other cannabis-growing Caribbean countries.
“We have held meetings with, and engaged, over 88 different agencies across Barbados, both government and others as well to make sure that we are reflecting and building an industry that is reflective of how people want to see it.”
She said that Canadian investors in particular, are expressing the strongest interest in the industry that is said to be still in high demand across the globe for its usefulness in the treatment of numerous mental and physical health conditions.
Munro-Knight noted that there is also growing interest in the potential for new strains of cannabis to be cultivated using the unique soil found on the island.