No Decision On Medical Marijuana—Pickering

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March 14, 2018 6:21 am AST
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The government has not decided on whether to legalize and regulate the use of cannabis (marijuana) for medicinal purposes. This was made clear by Hon. Dr. Kedrick Pickering, Deputy Premier and Minister of Natural Resources and Labour.

He was at the time responding to questions posed by Opposition Leader, Hon. Andrew Fahie in the House of Assembly last week.

Dr. Pickering explained that government is looking at revenue generators for the agriculture sector, which he said included exploring medical marijuana.

“We know that in the BVI there is a vast array of bush medicine. The time is now right for us to explore these opportunities and develop this sector of our agri-business industry, and this includes exploration into the opportunities that exist in the production and the distribution of medical marijuana,” he said.

This prompted Hon. Fahie’s question.

“Now that we are going to grow marijuana for medical purposes, could the Minister say whether there will be policies and regulations coming soon with the Ministry of Health to approve this? And if so, is it going to be this year or next year; and what licenses will be needed to grow the marijuana?”

In response, Dr. Pickering said that first and foremost, he doesn’t think either him or this government has made any decision about ‘the whole issue of medical marijuana, to be absolutely clear’.

“The issue is a very current topic and based on what is taking place in the general region, there is a rush by several Caribbean countries to get in on the economics of producing cannabis for export, to especially Canada,” he said.

He added, “The economics of it dictates that we should be mindful of it and look into the possibilities, but may I be extremely clear on this, it’s not the government’s position or government’s interest in producing medical marijuana.”

He said that it is a business and like all other business interest, any proposal put forward to the government must be looked at.

“So, if it is the government’s intention that it might be a business worth embarking on by allowing others to invest in it, then there is a long road ahead to put a legislative framework in place,” Minister Pickering stated.
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