Technicians at the tissue culture laboratory in St. Vincent and the Grenadines have developed what Minister of Agriculture Saboto Caesar, has described as “SVG cannabis strain 1”.
“… basically, what was done is that they took cuttings from an existing cannabis plant and, through the process of tissue culture reproduction, they have started to reproduce cannabis in the lab at Orange Hill,” he said during a Facebook Live question and answer broadcast Tuesday night.
“And it is very important that in the discussion we take away from the conversation that scientific research is an industry that we can have from the production of cannabis,” Caesar said.
He said persons say there are different strains of cannabis grown — illegally — in different locations in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
“What we intend to do at the Ministry is to take samples from these different areas to reproduce them in the lab by way of tissue culture reproduction and to have persons who are into those levels of research come into St. Vincent and the Grenadines and study these different strains.
“Because if we are to have an absolute advantage in any particular area within the emerging medicinal cannabis industry, one of those areas that we have to pay careful attention to is whether or not we have particular strains in St. Vincent and the Grenadines that we can test and we can prove can address certain ailments.”
Opposition lawmaker Sen. Kay Bacchus-Baptiste has expressed concerns that if traditional growers surrender their crop to the government and imported seeds are then used in the medical marijuana industry, this could wipe out what she said is the unique strain of Vincentian cannabis.
However, marijuana legalisation advocate, Junior “Spirit” Cottle, who like Bacchus-Baptiste, a member of the select committee that is reviewing the proposed marijuana legislation, told iWitness News there is a no uniquely Vincentian strain of cannabis.
Caesar is leading the Unity Labour Party administration’s thrust to establish a medical marijuana industry in SVG.
In September, he presented to parliament a medical marijuana bill as well as draft legalisation to grant amnesty, under certain conditions, to persons growing marijuana illegally in SVG.
The minister is also proposing a law to provide for the use of marijuana, under certain conditions, in religious worship among government-approved faiths.