Last December St. Vincent and the Grenadines became the first OECS member state to decriminalize marijuana for medical purposes and scientific research. During his budget address last month, St. Vincent’s finance minister Camillo Gonsalves, estimated that this industry will generate EC$5 million in 2019. He said the revenue will primarily be realized from licenses issued to local, regional, and extra-regional stakeholders for the cultivation, manufacture and export of medicinal cannabis products.
In an interview with the STAR this week the chairman of Saint Lucia’s Cannabis Movement, Mr. Andre DeCaires, reacted to the moves in neighbouring St. Vincent. He said Saint Lucia was “dragging our feet” when we should already have started our own industry. By Decaire’s telling, the failure and the tardiness had come at a cost. “We have already lost one investor; I have to let you know. They’ll be going to St. Vincent.”
He went on: “We actually advised them to go there because they were behind us, asking for updates and stuff, and we told them they might as well go to St. Vincent because they’re ready to go and Saint Lucia’s not.” DeCaires declined to identify the lost investor, but said they have built a good relationship. DeCaires said that all the investors they are in dialogue with, who are interested in producing Cannabidiol (CBD) oil, want low-grain cannabis or hemp. Based on early discussions, he said, the price is between US$50 and US$150 per pound.
“Our politicians are so slow,” DeCaires complained. “It’s almost embarrassing.” He warned that if an official decision is not made within the next two or three weeks, other interested companies could well move on to other shores.–