Barbados may join other Caribbean countries in legalizing medical cannabis

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

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Could Barbados be the next Caribbean country to legalize cannabis for medical purposes? Based on recent cannabis industry news, lawmakers are contemplating the idea of legalizing medicinal-grade weed in the palm tree-speckled country. 

The news comes after the Barbados House of Assembly revealed its plans to establish a regulatory framework that would prompt the launch of a legal medical cannabis industry. Should Barbados’ medical cannabis law come into effect, the Caribbean country will join Antigua, Barbuda, Jamaica, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines; each of these Caribbean countries has already enacted laws permitting cannabis cultivation. 

Another place on the map of the Caribbean islands that is working towards introducing similar laws is the dual-island of Saint Kitts and Nevis.

Barbados’ medical cannabis bill will develop Licensing Authority if passed

Based on the fine details of Barbados’ Medicinal Cannabis Industry Act, a Licensing Authority would be established to oversee the going-ons of the industry at large.

Guidelines will be developed by the Licensing Authority, with the establishment of a Medicinal Cannabis Licensing Board being a primary focus. The Board would monitor the Authority’s strategy to accomplish its intended objectives, policy and governance.

Things look as though they are headed in the right direction, what with the Barbados Drug Service encouraging companies to supply the industry with medical cannabinoids. The application process will begin in April of next year.

Barbados’ medical cannabis bill stands a good chance of passing

The fact that most of the assembly seats are held by the governing party – combined with the fact that the next election will not take place until 2023 puts Barbados’ is cannabis bill in prime position for success. 

Once the Authority has been established, the regulatory framework will be developed, inclusive of guidelines procedures and policies for the medical cannabis industry in Barbados. 

Some additional areas of oversight that would be dealt with by the Authority include the establishment of enforcement procedures required to assess licensees prior to acceptance, and setting up an online database featuring data for medical practitioners, patients and licensees alike. 

“Regulations in relation to the prescription and recommendation of medicinal cannabis by a medical practitioner for dispensing by a pharmacist or at a dispensary,” still need to be straightened out, according to the proposed bill for medical cannabis legalization in Barbados.

Barbados’ medical cannabis bill also proposes that the Authority will “prescribe codes of practice to be observed by licensees or other persons involved in the medicinal cannabis industry.”

Various licenses would be available if medical cannabis in Barbados is legalized

Cannabis business owners will have the choice of getting involved in various aspects of the industry in Barbados. Craft cannabis growers would have the opportunity to participate in the program, which would also open up a window of opportunity for large-scale corporations. 

Both big and small businesses will be able to apply for cannabis processing licenses and tiered cultivation licenses, so long as Barbados’ medical cannabis bill passes. Additionally, applicants can also apply for a Laboratory License, Retail Distributor License or Pharmacy License.

All licenses will have 3-year validity, except for cultivation licenses, which will be valid for no longer than one year.

Medical cannabis patients in Barbados would be limited to a 30-day supply

In the event that the bill passes, medical cannabis patients in Barbados would be able to obtain their prescription medicine from a licensed dispensary or pharmacy affiliated with the regulated industry.

To receive medical cannabis on prescription in Barbados, patients will first need to gain approval from a pharmacist. Only under the supervision of an authorized pharmacist will patients be able to get their medicine.

The maximum amount that a patient can obtain from a pharmacy is a 30-day supply of medicinal-grade cannabis. Although the Caribbean country has not yet released a date estimate for its initial harvest, the Authority is anticipated to establish regulatory framework during the existing government’s term.