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Only five to six million dollars of the 15 to 16 million dollars that authorities in St. Vincent and the Grenadines have approved for medical marijuana licences have reached the state coffers, says Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves.

His comments on Tuesday came just over a month after Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves told a rally to mark the 25th anniversary of the ruling Unity Labour Party, that the country “has earned already” $15 million in ganja cultivation licence fees.

The finance minister said that he had asked Minister of Agriculture Saboto Caesar, last year, about his projections for the first year of the industry.

The finance said Caesar told him that the industry had just started and he was anticipating about $5 million.

“Already this year, five million, we gone past that; 10 million, we gone past that; 15 million dollars Saboto Caesar has earned already in licence fees from the medical cannabis industry, and we are just getting started,” he told the thousands of persons at the decommissioned ET Joshua Airport in Arnos Vale.

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However, speaking on Hot 97 FM on Tuesday, the prime minister said:

“One of the problems is this. Some entities which have received licences, some overseas entities, and the value of the licences issued thus far is about 15-16 million [dollars] but we haven’t collected that. We have collected about 5-6 million. The reason being — you can’t pay the money in US dollars. No bank will touch it because of the federal government regulations and you don’t want Bank of America or Bank of New York not to give you corresponding banking relationship.”

The prime minister said that banks in SVG, like the Bank of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, which have corresponding banking relationships with Bank of America and Bank of New York, are very careful how they process monies coming for medical marijuana licences.

“If they are paid in Canadian dollars through Canadian Dominion and Canadian Dominion accepts money in Canada, I have been advised, from the medical cannabis industry so they don’t mind transmitting the money for you if the cheque issued in US dollars.

“So, some licences have been issued and people are ready to pay the money but they have to go through a particular route, so all those arrangements,” the prime minister said.

He continued: “There are some local people who have arrangements with some from overseas but who can’t operate properly yet because they don’t have in their hands, even though their license is issued, the licence is issued on the condition that you pay this money, but if the money ain’t reach the Medical Cannabis Authority, you don’t have the licence for operational purposes.”

12 replies on “Only $5m of $15m for ganja licences collected — PM”

  1. Funny how every article about ganja uses stock photos of marijuana that is clearly not the actual product from St Vincent

  2. Bway me nah know why Saboto Caesarde an de government dem na teem-up wid de Mexican cartel man dem. Dem man they sure know how fo pass on weed money!

  3. Absolute rubbish and just a collection of more lies.

    Giving someone a license before that license is paid for in full must be a misdemeanour on the part of the awarding officer or the person responsible. First you get the money then you issue the license, only then does the license owner get to farm or trade.

    If you can transfer $5 million you can transfer $15 million. If the licensee is an established company or corporation with a trading record it can be done.

    The problem is licenses have been granted to new corporations with no track record whatsoever so they are immediately suspect by the banking system.

    One must wonder why such companies were ever granted licenses in the first place. It certainly has an odours whiff.

    SVG has embassy bank accounts in many parts of the world. They have been very quick to deal with countries such as Iran paying money into the Cuban embassy account. Any American company can pay money into the US or Canadian embassy bank accounts.

    That money can then be withdrawn and carried in a diplomatic bag to SVG, like the million dollars was brought to SVG and the big ULP share out began.

  4. Meanwhile we could hve as an independent nation been offering ganja eco hiking tours and selling in licenced designated bars, just as we issue rum licenses to locals and tourists to savour our prime ganja product. That is the amnesty farmers need. Empower the small man.

    1. Dear Max, tours which include smoking weed do not stand well with hiking, biking, or driving. The tours will have to be full escort assisted, coaches. Perhaps Correa’s coach and bus tourism section would be interested. Can you just imagine carting a whole load of stoned passengers who are laughing at just about nothing as the tour proceeds

    2. That is an idea but SVG is not matured enough for such a move. Everybody will quickly be smoking, weed will be the fashionable thing. Next to rum. Nice try but no. That would be to complicated to police for SVG standards. But if we could find a solution/resolution(with proper mathematic modules), it might be worth a go.

  5. So, we can’t collect our dues through the normal channels? (People should have the right to sue this government when the time comes.) Only now you know that? Should this be seen as incompetence or oversight by the FM (the younger)? This whole thing sounds shady. What is the revenue you collect going to be used for? You next media moment should be when you clarify that. Oh, you did that already? Smart-man.

  6. It is so sad when an employer here cannot rely on his employee to be narco-free in the workplace.
    In the midst of poor employment records, and a population crying our for employers to provide work, that the potential employer here could be so worried about engaging an employee whom he thinks may be hooked on the dreaded weed and therefore unable to perform the required work task.

    Were we part of the wealthy western developed countries, the problem of being a narco- state would not be so bad, because the accumulated wealth in that nation would allow for it to cope with all of the associated problems that a narco-state brings, but an impoverished nation of just about 100,000.00 such as SVG where people struggle to survive, survival will not be for long as a narco-state. Yet we are willingly embarking down that perelious road!

    Weed they tell us could solve part of the problem that their incompetence in economic government and governance have produced, but Vincentians are not yet questioning the logic of this family regim.

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