Minister of Agriculture Saboto Caesar has warned persons against growing marijuana for the medical industry without first securing a buyer.
He issued the warning during last week’s meeting of Parliament as he responded to a question from MP for North Leeward, Roland “Patel” Matthews.
Caesar said that Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves announced in his Independence Day address that some 250 acres of land has been identified in the Lashum Top hill area.
Caesar said the Medical Cannabis Authority has advised him that the lands are being prepared, with the assistance of the Forestry Department.
“Now, I want to issue a word of caution. It is not advisable for persons, even though lands are allocated under this programme and because we are building a medicinal cannabis industry, to plant cannabis without first securing the market, the agriculture minister said.
“I want that to be very clear. The market is not infinite. If you follow what is taking place in Canada, the news is that there is an over production of cannabis and it is driving prices significantly down and anyone who understands and appreciates how commodities are priced will advise that in the interim what we do is that we ensure that we establish a sustainable alternative livelihoods programme which will include the production of other agricultural commodities.
“Because I am fully well aware that St. Vincent and the Grenadines alone does not set the demand for medicinal cannabis, and, therefore, we have to place our requirements for supply within a global context. So, I just want persons to be aware that there are several traditional cultivators who have come forward who have noted their wish is to get lands but they want to diversify out of cannabis. So I just want that to be clear,” Caesar told Parliament.