Tremendous potential in medical marijuana

A Barbados Labour Party (BLP) government is proposing to make medical marijuana available in Barbados, and one candidate says efforts will be made to identify the opportunities there are for enterprise and trade in that respect.

Speaking Friday night at a youth forum hosted by the BLP at the Radisson Aquatica, the Christ Church East Central Candidate, economist Ryan Straughn, noted that in order to get that proposal going, a great deal of research and development needs to take place so that there is a value added component.

Straughn, who was one of several candidates including Leader of the BLP, Mia Mottley who sought to engage the young and young at heart during the two-hour event, said that developing a medical marijuana industry in Barbados will provide opportunities for employment, trade and the earning of valuable foreign exchange.

“To the extent that we will use the regulations which already exists under the Health Act, the reality is that now will open up a whole realm of opportunity for young people to get involved in, but of course there needs to be order… The fact remains that globally there are trends towards the legalisation of medical marijuana and therefore as a government we now have to establish relations, on a government to government basis, such that as a foreign exchange earning component that we are able to identify for young people that this is a clear path to actually improving their lives, and so this is not just as simple as it sounds,” he said.

Straughn added, “Mia mentioned Bajan Bash as a brand, the reality is that we now have to also brand everything that we do in this country and this is another opportunity, that if we do it right and we have to do it right… this could possibly change the lives of thousands of young people across this country.”

With that in mind, the economist made the point while indicating that it will be important for a BLP government to make sure that people understand that getting involved in such a sector is “serious stuff”. As such, he explained there will be standards and quality they would be expected to meet, both in respect of the agricultural aspect of the sector and the finished product.

“… You’re talking about branding Barbados in a completely different way and so therefore the value stream, the income earning opportunities that would come from this, I see as changing the lives of many thousands of young people in this country, should they choose to participate.

“Certainly this Barbados Labour Party government intends to make sure that after the last ten years where there has been little opportunity for young people, that we carve out a specific space for young people in this country to be able to take advantage of that,” he stated.

Adding to his comments, political leader Mia Mottley contended that the old view of agriculture has no place in a modern Barbados. She is adamant that agriculture for us cannot be a plantation driven activity again, instead maintaining that it has to be driven by technology, money, innovation and new branding opportunities

“New Zealand and Argentina have shown what is possible for agriculture in terms of building the economy of a country, and I feel strongly that Barbados has a unique opportunity for the first time in a post independence state to be able to deal with agriculture in a different way, driven by food security, medical marijuana, sugar cane industry, community farming, but also livestock – black belly sheep which is the other major thing I think we need to take ownership of and expand significantly,” she stated.

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