President of the Cannabis Revival Committee, Junior “Spirit” Cottle, left, and Ronald “Ronnie” Marks, a director of Vincy Leaf. (iWN photos)

The head of a group advocating on behalf of traditional growers of marijuana is urging farmers not to accept less than EC$300 (approx. US$112) per pound within the medical marijuana industry.

“We are not saying we are not going higher. But we are not going below that. And, under the medical industry, we’re looking for more than that. We will be negotiating but, as it stands now, under the amnesty, it mustn’t go below that,” Junior “Spirit” Cottle, president of the Cannabis Revival Committee (CRC) told iWitness News on Sunday.

The CRC’s position is in contrast to that of Vincy Leaf, a local medicinal cannabis company, which is offering US$50 per pound for marijuana it buys during the amnesty period.

Ronald “Ronnie” Marks, a director of the company, said the price was informed by how much his company can sell its product for in Canada — its intended market.

“It’s oils. It’s not buds, it’s not recreational marijuana,” Marks told iWitness News separately on Sunday, adding that his company has to factor in the cost of processing and securing the cannabis extracts.

He said he fully supports Cottle’s quest to get the best prices for farmers, but said that the activist must be realistic.

In a press statement last week, the CRC called on traditional cultivators of cannabis “to be on the lookout for some foreign investors who want to offer them lower than the unofficial $300 minimum which they have been receiving for one pound of cannabis”.

The statement, signed by Cottle, said that the CRC has received information that some investors have been “attempting to put traditional cultivators against one another by recruiting some Vincentian nationals to act as agents in getting them to arrive at this agreement”.

He said that in some cases, as low as US$50 is being offered to growers.

“A modern cannabis industry demands high standards and compliance from all licensees.  This, in itself, requires a greater level of investment expenditure on the part of our growers, which means less profits in their pockets,” Cottle said in the statement.

“Traditional growers cannot accept such a situation…After suffering extreme hardship from the eradication of our crops and imprisonment by the state, after being robbed by unscrupulous mmiddlemen who credit our crops never to return, and by armed pirates, sometimes losing our loved ones in the process, we call on all farmers to resist such attempts.”

The statement urged traditional farmers to rally around the CRC to negotiate “the best possible deal”.

On Sunday, Cottle told iWitness News that traditional growers of marijuana do not normally accept less than EC$300 for a pound of marijuana

“There are cases you may hear a man might tell you give him $400 a pound,” Cottle said, adding that the basic price of EC$300 a pound has been standard for 20 to 30 years.

He said that his group has discovered that “certain investors” have been offering US$50 per pound for marijuana during the amnesty period.

A marijuana amnesty law passed last year will waive criminal penalties for farmers who can sell illegally grown marijuana to the medical marijuana industry within a specified one-year period.

Cottle noted that during the amnesty period, farmers will not have to abide by the stiff standards that are required by the medical marijuana.

It was pointed out to him that while recreational marijuana might sell for EC$300 a pound, it is not the same thing as medicinal marijuana.

“It is not the same thing, it’s true, but $300 a pound is what is there now. That doesn’t require the rigid standards and compliances that are required under a medical cannabis industry.

“After the amnesty period, the requirements will be more rigid, so naturally, the investment into that industry will be greater, so we will be looking for more returns. But that is left also to be negotiated. And that will be based on the kinds of taxes and the kind of profit investors making. And I think we will have access to that because, guided by the regulations, we will be able to get all that information,” Cottle told iWitness News.

‘a fundamental misunderstanding’

But Marks said that there seems to be “a fundamental misunderstanding as to the illegal market and the medicinal market” for marijuana.

“I am in full support of Spirit to get the best price for the farmers. There must be the best price for the famers. But realistically, you are not going to get the same price for medical marijuana as you get for recreational marijuana.”

He told iWitness News that his company has offered US$50 per pound for marijuana, saying that under the medical marijuana industry, farmers would not make EC$300 a pound for marijuana.

Regarding the factors that inform the setting of the price, Marks said, “the market, obviously” and the price at which marijuana is purchased.

“… because you are not going to buy something for $10 to sell it for $7,” he said, adding that he knows the  struggle that marijuana farmers face.

“I have been involved for 20 years of defending persons who planted marijuana, but it was illegal at that point,” said Marks a lawyer.

“Here’s a scenario: say if I can plant and you are telling me I can produce 1,000 pounds per acre and I am selling you at US$50 per pound. That’s me making US$50,000 every three months. Which farmer going to reduce that?”

Marks said that Cottle’s proposal will price traditional growers out of the market.

“Spirit is on the right road, get the best price for the farmers but that price is not sustainable for medicinal marijuana. For recreational marijuana, it’s chicken feed… Persons with large tranches of land, contiguous acres of land will be taking advantage of that,” he said of the offer for medicinal marijuana,” he told iWitness News.

“If I tell you that you can have one acre of land and every three months I will put US$50,000 in your hand, which farmer is going to refuse that?” Marks said.

10 replies on “Weed farmers, company haggle over price”

  1. Cottle does not seem to have a clue. I agree with Marks, but it partly depends on how much expenditure the farmers will carry, compared with the company purchasing. Take into account that cannabis has been becoming legal all over the world and that it can be grown on 3/4 of the globe. The price is going to fall like a rock, and it already has! Vincy Cannabis growers think they are going to get rich. Thier greed is going to destroy them. The big money in cannabis is ending soon, and vincys that think the entire world wants ours more than other cannabis will find they are in a dream world. If our greed does not destroy us our arrogance will. Virtually anywhere you go where cannabis is being grown, all of them say thiers is the best. Why don’t we vincys get off our high horse and wake up to reality one day.

  2. Kirt williams says:

    Its almost impossible to get that yield from an acre of land and what about workers and inputs at that price only large estates Will be able to profit because they can use machinery to do bulk work .This has been my point all along that large estates Will have an advantage going forward and may make life miserable for traditional growers they can manipulate the price.Let the weed pricing war begin.I dont expect any better from Marks he might be planting too they have plenty land

  3. Terrance Williams says:

    Marijuana don’t take every three months to mature Marks….. i am sure after all the cost of producing 1 acre of marijuana: Labour, taxes paid, other imput the farmers will ended up with next to nothing in their packets.

  4. CBD oil is a very expensive lucrative product. a few ounces cost a upwards of a hundred pounds. It is a total abuse to expect people to work for those kind of low prices when the turn over is 2, 3 maybe 5 hundred percent. This is slavery all over.

  5. QUALITY! This is of paramount importance within the Marijuana Industry. Whether it be Medical, Recreational, or whatever purpose persons might have for Ganja, Quality should be a key factor in determining its Price. This inevitably leads to the question of Who determines the GRADE./QUALITY of your product. Let the debates begin!

  6. FIRST IT WAS AND STILL IS ” OPERATION ERADICATION” , THEY IMPLEMENT NAFTA AND DESTROY OUR LIVING AND NOW THEY WANT TO USE OUR OWN HERB AGAINST USE WITH BUREAUCRATIC RED TAPE SMH…………R” YOU ARE RIGHT MODERN DAY SLAVERY ALL OVER ………..AS THE LATE PETER TOSH SAY ” DOWN PRESSORMAN ” !!!

  7. Medicinal weed is a foot in the door to legal recreational weed. It’s coming. Prohibition didn’t work for alcohol, and it’s not working for Cannabis, not in the US or Canada. Good quality weed, and I trust my nose, will always command a premium price. In Canada before legalization, quality weed always sold out before it reached our border. We smoked the whole plant, not just the flowers. We were starved by the US war on drugs. Quality weed didn’t travel very far, before it was sold. There is a huge market. In Canada weed is now mostly grown in huge warehouses under artificial lights. No imports allowed. It’s not legal per se. It’s just highly regulated by the government who were seeing huge tax revenue. Big companies grow it. The government controls sales and price. An individual can grow 4 plants, but only with government approved seed, which they aren’t selling. I’m bringing some Vinci seed home with me, but it’s everyday Vinci weed, some stuff my neighbor gave to me. I’ve smelt some very high quality Vinci weed. The growers were quite proud of it, and rightfully so. I really don’t like the government approved weed Ontario is selling. Government only sees THC and CBD. and there are a hundred other psychoactive compounds in that resin. We’ve been cultivating weed for some 5,000 years, creating a wide variety of very different weed. No one respects that. No one learns from that. It’s different than alcohol, which is just one chemical. Even then, there has been a huge growth in craft breweries in Canada, small scale producers who brew beer with distinctive taste profiles. St Vincent is ideal for craft production and sales. Making craft beer, or craft medicinal weed isn’t that complicated, but if it’s good, it will always sell.

  8. As the piece below suggests, Jamaica and many other countries are so far ahead of us in legalization, organization, operation, research and development, funding, and distribution in the medical marijuana industry that we would never, ever catch up. As for legal weed, we are even further behind.

    This is why Ronnie Marks’ Vincy Leaf company is bound to fail, if it ever even gets off the ground.

    https://www.caribbeannewsnow.com/2019/03/11/first-ever-global-export-of-jamaican-cannabis/

    “Too little, too late” needs to be our national motto.

  9. We also have to be wary and be on the look out for genetically modified weed which will be brought in after they tell us that what we grow is inferior. It will also be wise to abstain from using these and stick with what you know and grow
    These big pharmaceutical companies will find ways to use agents to get their way the only wsy forward for farmers is unity because divided you fall

    .

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