Investors in the medical cannabis industry in St. Vincent and the Grenadines scaled back production and reduced staff by as much as three-quarters as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Minister of Agriculture Saboto Caesar told Parliament on Monday that Cabinet has approved 38 traditional cannabis cultivators’ licenses, 10 groups of traditional cannabis cultivators comprising of over 150 persons, 13 farmers who are not traditional cannabis cultivators, and five local investor companies, and 17 foreign-based companies.
“It is important that we address a very important practical issue that has taken place, since COVID-19. Many of the investors who have the technology and significant resources have been unable to travel to St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” Caesar said.
“Of course, they had their forecasting. They had their plans and their inability to come to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and they are not operating in economies which are isolated from the economic downturn as a result of COVID-19.
“Many have decided to scale back production; some have cut their staff by up to three quarters and until we are aware as to when they will be able to travel to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, it leaves many questions to be answered,” Caesar said.
He said that the medicinal cannabis authority is in the final stages of completing its lab, which is 95% complete.
This would enable the required testing to be done in-country.
“The focus is on medicinal and this begins and ends with science. Once the standard operating procedures are in place, applications will be made for international accreditation. This will certainly improve the marketability of medicinal cannabis produced in St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” Caesar told lawmakers.