Traditional cultivators of Cannabis in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) have been given the green light to open bank accounts at the Bank of St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Last Tuesday, at a training seminar for traditional cannabis cultivators, Samantha Phillips, the Chief Licensing Officer at the Medicinal Cannabis Authority (MCA), outlined to licensed cultivators, the procedures for establishing the accounts for themselves and their workers.
In his address, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the MCA Dr Jerrol Thompson, said SVG is the first Caribbean country to establish firm banking arrangements which permit the movement of money related to the medicinal cannabis industry from Canada and Europe, but not yet from the United States, because of federal restrictions there.
Addressing 125 traditional cultivators gathered at the Methodist Church Hall in Kingstown, Thompson said although the process for the establishment of a medicinal cannabis industry is complex, SVG is quite advanced in what has been accomplished.
He cited the passing of various pieces of legislation, the establishment of the MCA, and the development of regulations and guidelines for medical practitioners, cultivators, and investors, among the achievements thus far.
The CEO said a laboratory testing facility, which will be equipped with state of the art testing equipment, is being constructed to allow the MCA to test cannabis for THC and 11 other cannabinoids, heavy metals and 96 different pesticides.
“Some of these pesticides have never been imported in St Vincent and the Grenadines; they have never been here, but we have to show that there was a test for them and they are not present,” Thompson said.
Land has also been surveyed in North Leeward and will be made available to interested cultivators in the area who do not own land. The CEO said the 230 acres at Top Hill, Lashum, have been cut into parcels of between one and two and a half acres. Other areas of the country are being looked at for the purpose of making land available to interested farmers.
The feature address at last Tuesday’s seminar was presented by Tom Ritchie, vice president of Accounts and Education at Ample Organics in Canada. He addressed the audience on best practices in medicinal cannabis cultivation, record-keeping and traceability.
Thompson said traceability of the medicinal cannabis from seed to sale is important if we are to achieve the standards necessary to become export-ready and for a successful industry.
The gathering was also addressed by Minister of Agriculture, Saboto Caesar, who advised the cultivators to also look at non-cannabis production, as the nation cannot survive solely on cannabis; other commodities must be produced. He said that those farmers who wish to invest in other areas will be assisted by the MCA.
Certificates of Training were presented to the participants at the end of the seminar.
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