Marijuana reform activist, Junior “Spirit” Cottle smokes a marijuana cigarette after an interview with iWitness News in Kingstown in November 2018. (iWN photo)

A longstanding advocate for cannabis law reform has dismissed concerns that the establishment of a medical marijuana industry in St. Vincent and the Grenadines could destroy “local species” of the plant.

In fact, Junior “Spirit” Cottle told iWitness News that there is no Vincy strain of marijuana.

On Tuesday, iWitness News asked Cottle to respond to concerns by opposition senator, Kay Bacchus-Baptiste that this could be a consequence of the Medical marijuana Amnesty Bill expected to be passed in Parliament next week.

“Don’t bother with that talk. Foolishness. It ain’t have no Vincy strain here. Ask any grower that,” Cottle said.

“All the ganja that is in St. Vincent, from time to time, seeds have been coming from Jamaica, seeds have been coming from America, from Canada and because of the concentration of cannabis growers, because of the proximity, ganja is always being cross-pollinated so that cross-pollination has been affecting ganja thought the country. So there is nothing like a Vincy strain.”

He said that the cannabis grown in SVG “is indeed St. Vincent ganja because it has the soil, it has the climate, it has the resources put into it from here, including the human resources, which is most important, so you have those elements in it, so based on that, you can develop a Vincy strain.”

Cottle said that the professionals in that area can speak more to the process through which a new strain of a plant is developed.

“… but I have met more than one investor who has shown interest in this,” he said.

“Not just for the sake of St. Vincent having its own unique strain but for the purpose of marketing: marketing St. Vincent, marketing the volcano, marketing the soil, marketing the people. So the potential looks very good in developing a local strain and have it patented — if that’s the correct word to use.”

Cottle, however, suggested that much of the marijuana currently grown in SVG would not meet the medical marijuana standard because it is “laced with pesticides, dangerous pesticides”.

Lawyer and senator, Kay Bacchus-Baptiste. (iWN file photo)

Last Friday, speaking on her New Democratic Party’s “New Times” programme on NICE Radio, Bacchus-Baptiste, who was a member of the select committee that reviewed the draft law, expressed concerns about the implications of the amnesty law.

The law offers amnesty for farmers who have already planted marijuana illegally up to the time that the law comes into effect.

Under this law, they are allowed to sell the marijuana legally to the medical cannabis sector, if they meet the required standard.

However, as part of this process, farmers must complete a form which includes the grower’s full name, address, national identification number, the location of the land on which the cannabis is cultivated or, if harvested, the premises where the cannabis is stored.

The grower must also indicate the quantity of cannabis under cultivation or, if harvested, the quantity of cannabis that is stored at the premises and a declaration to the effect that the farmer has been acting in contravention of section 8 of the Drugs Prevention of Misuse act.

Bacchus-Baptiste asked what would the government do with the marijuana that does not meet the standard.

“We will bring in one that has to be grown in greenhouses and stuff in order for them to flourish. Destroy what we have and what you think would happen? We can’t compete no more and just like what happen to our bananas. Those people would just shift to America and America would just totally legalise it, we won’t be able to compete and we would be like the banana industry.”

The senator said this cannot be permitted and called on all CARICOM governments to get together and protect the marijuana industry, in especially St. Vincent and Jamaica.

“I’m calling on the experts in the University of the West Indies. Let us have them scientifically look at it and analyse it and decide whether or not our herb could also be used for medicinal purposes, not just accept what those from outside come in and tell us. That would be a travesty and we would not be looking forward. We have to save the industry, definitely,” the opposition senator said.

11 replies on “There’s no ‘Vincy ganja’ strain — ‘Spirit’ Cottle”

  1. Let me get this straight, farmers are expected to provide name, address, and national id number? To what end May I ask? I’m willing to bet that this is an effort to charge the NDP supporters among them with money laundering and to seize homes and other assets. Ralph really think that he is smarter than everyone else; he and Julian actually believe that black Vincentians are all modern day house slaves like Sabato and Jomo.

  2. All foolish talk by all of them. We will never have an export market for any strain of cannabis apart from the one we have had since the mid- to late 1970s.

    1. Na true. Ganja tea is good fu feed aches an’ pains fu make dem go away an’ fu help feed de l brain fu get a good night’s sleep.

      If you na believe I-man, ask de ole people an’ dem.

  3. When plants are cross pollinated on a small island, over a number of years they will eventually become a strain. No cross pollination from outside the island ensures that.

    Pollen is carried from plant to plant by bees and other flying insects, also on the wind. But the expanse of water separating our islands ensures cross pollination from beyond our island does not take place. This intensifies the purity of the strain.

    The problem is that this old pot head who is himself suffering from cross pollination rarely knows what day of the week it is, much less understand pollination and how it works.

  4. Kay Bacchus Baptiste says:

    Unfortunately there was no talk of farmers “selling” their marijuana during the amnesty. The Bill said “ surrender” the marijuana. Recently the talk of selling surfaced after my comments but the Bill does not say that. There is also no talk of PRICE. Now the talk of destroying our VInvy weed is supported by COTTLE who sounds more like an apologist for the ULP government rather than looking out for marijuana farmers.

    Farmers do not buy his talk. If all our weed is “laced with pesticides “ and he accepts this without adequate tests, do you believe you will get paid if you carry your weed in..?His argument has set up the scene to say well we offer to pay you (no price stated) but your weed is no good therefore no pay !!

    On the VInvy weed he contradicts himself no VINcy strain but yes Vincy weed. Like it is me who is representing marijuana farmers not Cottle!

  5. It has been reported that recently an Attorney here have expressed the view that Mental Health issues are on the rise here in SVG.

    However that Attorney, have not seen anything yet! With this proposed Legalisation of Cannabis, just you wait for what is coming! Indeed, what with those past years of illegal cannabis growing and use, it is in no way surprising.

    Indeed the views of the Attorney, that Mental Health issues are on the rise in SVG has a degree of credibility for we have all witnessed it. With former sane individual suddenly behaving most peculiarly!

    What is most surprising though, is the stance of our Government towards this once illegal Cannabis, which can only be viewed as reprehensible and thoroughly amoral.

    Immorality at the top, has a way no doubt, of contaminating the rest of any society downwards, and so it has been here, as it will be more so in the future. In a substitute for economic competence, jobs and income growth our government have opted for a questionable option.

    In the circumstance, what do I believe about our Government and its leaders? I do believe that our existing Government are thoroughly selfishly ungodly, reprehensible and utterly immoral, and we as a nation shall therefore reap the whirlwind thereby as a consequence, from their very, very poor decision making, as we do see in the likes of the Venezuelan people, at this very point in time, the consequence of greed, incompetence and self-interest.

    Too much Rum or too much Beers may encourage one to sleep it off, but the weed may send one psychotic and cause one to see there what is not really there! See the BRITISH NHS NOTICE: ( https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/cannabis-the-facts/ )

    Fixing and focusing attention on just one aspect of this cannabis issue, that is, the monetary rewards that are to be gained by the legal proliferation of cannabis growers, while at the same time ignoring the potential for harm in in our society is utterly shameful and thoroughly reprehensible.

    As the good scriptures have so warned us at 1 Timothy 6: 10 “ for the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” Therefore for what will it profit us as a nation as the Mental Health issues here continue to grow? (https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana )

  6. Rawlston Pompey says:

    THE ‘SPIRIT’ TALKS

    When the ‘Spirit’ Talks, everybody listens.

    Rastafari Cottle. Positive vibes- ‘…no Vincy strain here,’ (well not yet).

    Dangerous chemicals on vegetable substance, not good mix for medicine.

    Implicitly, as the photo suggests, only good for smoking.

    By the way, ‘…Where is the Chalice for the Spirit?’

  7. Really and seriously christian of st Vincent

    Where is the watchman’s that is to be watching over this house or nation of the living God Jehovah

  8. Rawlston Pompey says:

    MISLED BY THE SPIRIT

    When the ‘Spirit’ speaks, even the ‘…bald-heads’ listen.

    The learned attorney had ‘…bowled a curve ball’ at his ‘…Spirit.’ Seems ‘Cottle’ has no reasons to apologize for ‘…his opinion.’

    Even with contrary views, the ‘Spirit,’ likened to everyone else, shall enjoy the ‘…prevailing constitutional freedom of expression.’

    Gone are the days, when people had lined-up behind one man’s ideas. Besides, in a democracy, whether by the intellectual or dull-witted, ‘…All ideas contend.’

    It was clear from the interview that the ‘…Spirit’ was not embracing of the weed’s ‘…medicinal use.’

    Well, that which is supposedly ‘…laced with pesticides’ could be used as ‘…Cottle’ could be seen doing (IWN photo), and as Sacrament as had been widely advocated by the Rastafarian communities across the region.

    Given the attorney/Senator/lawmaker’s perspective on ‘…Cottle’s interview,’ the Editor might wish to see him again to explain what is meant by ‘…strain on Vincy weed.’

    So ‘Cottle’ may have been ‘…Misled or deceived by his ‘Spirit,’ as to have uttered ‘…contradictions’ with ‘…Strain and Vincy weed.’

    There is ‘…weed alright,’ and it seems to be giving other producing countries stiff competition. To settle the score with the ‘Spirit,’another type of weed can be developed, ‘…free of pesticides’ and under strict growing conditions, and in a controlled environment.

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