Ex­perts to talk med­i­cal mar­i­juana

Daily Nation (Barbados) - - News -

Bar­ba­di­ans will have the op­por­tu­nity to delve into the ad­van­tages and dis­ad­van­tages of medic­i­nal mar­i­juana dur­ing the In­ter­na­tional Busi­ness (IB) Week’s pub­lic dis­cus­sion on the is­sue next Tues­day.

Ju­lia Hope, pres­i­dent of the Bar­ba­dos In­ter­na­tional Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion (BIBA), speak­ing yes­ter­day dur­ing the launch of the IB Week at In­vest Bar­ba­dos, Tri­dent Fi­nan­cial Cen­tre, Hast­ings, Christ Church, said the dis­cus­sion would be ti­tled A Look Into The Fu­ture Of Cannabis; A New High.

“We have to ex­am­ine the op­por­tu­nity. We have to de­ter­mine if it is some­thing that is right for Bar­ba­dos, right for the sec­tor, and some­thing that we will be able to all ben­e­fit from but in a very sen­si­ble, reg­u­lated and proper man­ner.

“And I think that is what we are re­ally do­ing when it comes to the dis­cus­sions on cannabis. We need to open the door and lis­ten to all the ex­perts, find out what the dis­cus­sion is over­seas and what we should be think­ing about here,” she said, while not­ing panel­lists would in­clude Steve Narine, a Cana­dian med­i­cal mar­i­juana re­search spe­cial­ist, Dr Alana Grif­fith, Dr Damian Co­hall and at­tor­ney-at-law Dou­glas Trot­man.

Ac­cord­ing to chair of IB Week Steer­ing Com­mit­tee, Der­rick Cum­mins, he was ex­cited about the op­por­tu­nity to im­prove the qual­ity of life for many peo­ple. How­ever, he noted Bar­ba­di­ans did not go into a lot of things for the mone­tary value.

At the fore­front

“I don’t be­lieve that cannabis would be a money grab for me, but again sav­ing life, im­prov­ing qual­ity of life, that’s the first thing. I be­lieve . . . there is also an op­por­tu­nity in cannabis. Ever so of­ten pe­ri­ods come where there are new de­vel­op­ments, and we have an op­por­tu­nity to be at the fore­front,” he said.

He noted while Bar­ba­dos was not go­ing to play catch up in the medic­i­nal mar­i­juana field, it could add to the lo­cal sec­tor.

“It brings not just the de­vel­op­ment . . . but the ed­u­ca­tional fac­tor to it, be­cause cannabis for medic­i­nal pur­poses has to be grown in a some­what con­trolled en­vi­ron­ment. Cannabis can be pre­scribed, or we’ve been speak­ing about med­i­cal tourism for some time, maybe it is an out­let for that also. There are many ways that this can be played, and we can­not turn a blind eye to it,” he said.

Hope said that with ap­prox­i­mately 4 000 em­ploy­ees in the in­ter­na­tional busi­ness sec­tor, 90 per cent of them Bar­ba­di­ans, they con­trib­uted $1 bil­lion to the coun­try’s an­nual GDP and 60 per cent of the to­tal cor­po­ra­tion tax col­lected by Gov­ern­ment.

“The sec­tor is the most re­li­able and con­sis­tent earn­ers of for­eign ex­change for Bar­ba­dos, which we all know is of vi­tal im­por­tance as we look to en­hance and sta­bilise our for­eign ex­change re­serves,” she said.

Hope added IB Week had a range of ac­tiv­i­ties start­ing­with a church ser­vice on Oc­to­ber 21, work­ing un­der the theme Em­brace The Op­por­tu­ni­ties for the tenth con­sec­u­tive year.

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