Some people hope to see the budding cannabis industry boost the economies situated in the Caribbean islands. Even as Barbados allows medical cannabis businesses to operate, the debate regarding legislation surrounding recreational cannabis continues.
After over a year since the island legalized medical cannabis use through the Medicinal Cannabis Industry Bill in November 2019, Barbados officially permitted businesses to begin working with cannabis in January.
The primary initiative here is to infuse some new revenue into the country as its tourism sector suffers at the hands of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since tourism has traditionally made up for a significant portion of Barbados’s economy, limited tourism opportunities exist in the region as many countries continue to restrict travel.
The South Florida Caribbean News reported that the economy dropped by around 18 percent in 2020. What’s more, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicted that the COVID-19 pandemic would impact the region’s economic condition significantly.
CanEx reported that the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Indar Weir, discussed the medical cannabis market in December.
“The industry must get started. People will be allowed to enter, (but) not everybody is going to be able to start at the same time,” Weird said.
Weir continued, “[The economic benefits are] something that we cannot turn a blind eye to. We have to capitalize on any opportunity that confronts us now because later on, it will not be here.”
“There will be too many other options,” he elaborated. “We have to leverage our position now.”
Barbados is familiar with cannabis, with the demand for medical and recreational cannabis rising for years now. Even though the country still strictly forbids adult recreational cannabis consumption, there’s a bill in place to permit spiritual cannabis use for registered Rastafarians.
Bermuda Ready to Consider Adult-Use Cannabis
Bernews reported that Bermuda premier David Blurt said a debate on cannabis legislation was set to happen in the parliament on February 19, 2021.
Attorney-General Kathy Lynn Simmons is quoted as saying, “This Bill will usher in lawful regulation of all such activities involved—directly or ancillary—to the cultivation, import, export, production, sale, supply, use or transport of cannabis or medicinal cannabis or products derived from cannabis or medicinal cannabis in Bermuda.”
Simmons went on to say, “Provisions in the Bill will permit lawful activities relating to the cannabis plant, medicinal cannabis, cannabis products, and cannabis-infused food products.”
The bill should also grant monitoring, enforcement and inspection powers to The Cannabis Licensing Authority. It will also include lawful activities related to the plan, such as personal adult-use and consumption of lawfully-obtained cannabis, medical cannabis, cannabis-infused food products, and cannabis products for people 21 years of age or older.
The country hopes that lawful access to these products will lessen the Black market’s control over the cannabis trade, as well. But regardless of what happens, Bermuda is on track to experience cannabis reforms already observed throughout the world.