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Medical cannabis cultivation to be permitted in Antigua and Barbuda

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

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Legislation to grant the legal cultivation of medical cannabis could soon be passed in the Caribbean country of Antigua and Barbuda.

Cannabis grown in the independent Commonwealth country must be cultivated under regulated, licensed conditions to abide by the new legislation.

The tropical country, which is known for its lush green rainforests and pristine reef-rimmed beaches, boasts the perfect climate for cannabis cultivation.

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Under the new legislation, medical cannabis in Antigua and Barbuda will be handled just like any other pharmaceutical.

“The Cabinet agreed that Canada’s laws are the best fit to be a model, although Britain, Germany, Switzerland, and Brazil are pursuing the same path for growers of the cannabis plant,” declared the government in a recent statement.

A faction based in Canada with experience in integrating medical cannabis were said to have come to the Cabinet “in order to advise on the kinds of steps required by the government of Antigua and Barbuda in order to make possible the growing, harvesting, processing and sale of medical cannabis in its many forms,” according to the statement.

Antigua and Barbuda strives to analyze the experiences and customs of other countries using developed medical cannabis programs as a model.

Cannabis recently decriminalized in Antigua and Barbuda

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Residents of Antigua and Barbuda are now legally allowed to possess a maximum of 15 grams of cannabis for personal use under the country’s latest move to decriminalize cannabis. In addition to this, households can grow a maximum of four plants for personal use.

This change in laws occurred in February and has been received well by the locals.

“Now the Government is going one step further, arranging for this agricultural product to be grown under certain conditions and eventually turned into useful pharmaceuticals,” Prime Minister Gaston Browne said.

Browne describes the use of cannabis as “socially acceptable” and proclaims that his government is “not advocating the use of cannabis.”

Authorities are dealing with cannabis issues directly

The Antigua and Barbuda government’s decision to pass a bill allowing for the decriminalization of cannabis is a sign that the authorities are dealing with cannabis issues head-on.

Named the Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Bill, it was initially read in the House back in December 2017.

After the matter was passed onto a select committee at Antigua and Barbuda’s House of Representatives, the bill was reviewed and approved in February.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne believes the decision is a type of rebalancing, and that the decriminalization and production of medical cannabis in Antigua and Barbuda could aid authorities in dealing with the issue directly.

“The reality is, Mr. Speaker, the use of marijuana is now socially acceptable, it is, in essence, a part of the culture of the country and so the efforts over the last few decades to drive the use of marijuana underground has not worked,” expressed Browne.

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Medical cannabis cultivation to be permitted in Antigua and Barbuda