Congratulations to the Rastafarians. They deserve to be the first to receive a cannabis license. But, I write to you because I, like many Antiguans, want to know what’s next?
Although exciting news, the legalization of Cannabis has taken so long that, in my opinion, the rest of the world has passed us by.
Now that we have almost caught up with legalization, we still charge 300k for a license, which most locals cannot afford.
Yes, that fee is comparable to some US states, but this is not the US where getting financing is easy.
1. At that price point, if it is to attract foreign investment, it is cheaper and easier to purchase land in the United States, and a license is cheaper to obtain in several states. Water irrigation is far more affordable, and technology to grow is far more in reach.
2. At least 16 US States and numerous countries have legalized Cannabis. So why should someone build that business here, for the beach? For “cannabis” tourists, airline travel to Antigua & Barbuda is so expensive compared to easily traveling to other islands or neighboring US States for the same thing. Search Miami to Antigua, for example. And that’s the closest US port besides Puerto Rico (Liat is another story).
3. If our goal is to export products, shipping anything by boat from Antigua is a hassle and is expensive. I can only imagine the difficulty of getting necessary permits to export Cannabis. And while you may eventually export, you will likely import products to countries that also require import licenses.
4. Finally, if you have tried Cannabis from the United States, particularly California or Colorado, you will see how superior these products are. Sorry to say, but it’s not enough to just start growing. And at that cost, it makes no sense only to serve locally. To truly make this work, we need a lot of infrastructure/technology, education, and the removal of such a high fee.
Once again, I say that legalization took so long, likely due to greed from the top. But this is still out of reach of most locals, and even if it wasn’t, the world has passed us by.
All the best,