ST. VINCENT-Government approves first marijuana licences

A tour guide shows marijuana growing openly in a flower garden

The St. Vincent and the Grenadines government has approved a number of cannabis cultivation licences recommended by the Medical Cannabis Authority (MCA).

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, speaking on a radio programme here, said that the MCA made the recommendations after examining some of the applications received so far and conducting due diligence.

He said that the Authority, through its chief executive officer, Jerrol Thompson and Minister of Agriculture, Saboto Caesar would provide the details.

“But I just want to indicate that for traditional cultivators, 21 licences which were recommended have been approved, eight of them is for groups and these eight groups have between them about 100 persons, I’m told — roughly, approximately,” Gonsalves said.

Gonsalves said there are three nationals who have been granted traditional licences who are not traditional cultivators and that 10 companies have been registered that are owned, in the majority, by non-nationals, while others have nationals involved with them.

The prime minister said they have licences ranging from class A through to E, with E being the most expensive and there are three companies with Class E licences and one with Class A, two Class B licences, 2 Class D’s, two Class C’s.

“So those entities will be informed and those individuals but I am sure that the minister and Jerrol Thompson would provide the details. Just to indicate that the process is ongoing.

“The paper work, applications and the checking out and the due diligence and all those things was an exhaustive process and took a fair bit of time,” he said, adding that a Class A licence costs a non-national EC$100,000 (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) and allows for cultivation of up to one acre of land and is valid for one year.

Class B is two years duration and cost EC$250,000, Class C is up to 25 acres and cost EC$500,000 and is of three years’ duration, while Class D is for up to 100 acres and cost one million EC dollars It is valid for four years.

The authorities said a Class E licence cost EC$2.67 million and lasts for five years.

In addition, each license holder has to pay upfront, in the first year, an EC$250,000 food security authorisation fee “so that we can use that money to help to strengthen our food security, because we could grow ganja (marijuana) but we can’t eat ganja,” Gonsalves said.

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