Barbados-based medical marijuana businesses required to ensure local ownership

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The Ministry of Agriculture in Barbados is requiring that any foreign cannabis companies that set-up shop in the country must ensure that locals own at least 30% of the business. This Medical Cannabis Bill 2019 was introduced in the House of Assembly in a bid to establish a legal industry. If this bill is adopted, Barbados would permit medical cannabis just as Jamaica, St Vincent & the Grenadines, and Antigua & Barbuda have. The Agriculture Minister gave a presentation on the bill which revealed that international companies have to create subsidiaries for local Barbadians.

This bill ensures that every Barbadian is able to participate in the industry. Every group that has an interest, will have a chance. The Minister also commented that the Rastafarian community would play an important role in establishing the industry. A minimum of 60 acres is allocated to Barbadian Rastafarians to cultivate cannabis for medical purposes. The government met frequently with Rastafarian religious leaders during the development of the industry. The community is hoping for legalization for both religious and medical reasons.

The industry will be strictly regulated, and separate licenses will be required for cultivation, research and development, distribution, retail, import and export. While it will take some time for this process to be complete, the Barbadian government has established a process for international producers to supply Barbados with cannabis products. This bill is likely to run from April 2020 to March 2022. The government has clearly stated that they will not be legalizing cannabis for recreational purposes.

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