Experts to talk medical marijuana
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.