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Oct 1, 2019

The Production of Hemp under Consideration in CARICOM

The production of hemp is under consideration in a number of Caribbean countries due to its economic potentials.  It is one of the more interesting topics on the agenda of an ongoing CARICOM meeting which is looking at the exploration of the business of cannabis and hemp production in the region. Now, for years, the region has been given a black eye for the cultivation of marijuana but hemp has a lower toxicity and can open markets for countries where traditional exports are on the decline. Back in 2017, legislation was passed to decriminalize the possession of up to ten grams of cannabis locally. The cultivation, trafficking and retailing of the drug, however, is still illegal.  Shaun Baugh says that regional experts have been brought in to make scientific presentation on the use of cannabis for medicinal rather than recreational purposes. For the production of hemp, large parcels of land are needed, which countries like Belize, Guyana and Suriname have.

 

Shaun Baugh

Shaun Baugh, Programme Manager, Agriculture and Industry Development, CARICOM Secretariat

“Medical cannabis is a growing industry; it’s the new green gold that people are talking about. But as a region, collectively, we have to have a position. We have to be able to say to our member states, this is how we are going to approach it, these are the opportunities. It is not only recreational that people know about, but there is a medicinal side that is a billion dollar industry. We have to be able to take charge and be able to earn from that and not play catch up because as you would know, our region is known for cannabis production in the good sense as to the quality and the medicinal value that can be had from it. Hemp on the other hand, it presents an opportunity for us in a very unique way. Our traditional crops are experiencing some challenges now and hemp uses a large amount of land. So we need to now look at what are the real opportunities that can be had from that and in particular the larger member states that have the landmass—we are talking about Suriname, we’re talking about Belize here and Guyana and also Jamaica to a lesser extent. How can these member states participate in this growing and new industry?”


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