The Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (GOSVG) has taken steps to significantly speed up the development of its cannabis industry, having first established the Medicinal Cannabis Authority (MCA) in 2018. Not only have they already issued licenses, they have included traditional cannabis farmers by issuing licenses to them and have now brought in Dr. André Gordon, CEO of TSL Technical Services Limited (TTSL) to train the farmers while he helps to develop the capabilities of the MCA and its technical team.
Dr. Gordon was the founding Chair of the Cannabis Licensing Authority in Jamaica, the pioneer in the Caribbean for Medicinal Cannabis, in addition to being an expert in matters to do with international trade, standards, regulatory compliance and analytical testing, all areas in which GOSVG expects he will help the country and the MCA.
The MCA recently hosted training sessions for traditional cannabis cultivators in which Dr. Gordon introduced cannabis cultivators to international production standards. The sessions on Good Agricultural and Collection Practices (GACP) were designed to familiarize participants with global best practices and offer an outline for operating within the framework of GACP. In addition, Dr. Gordon was involved in intensive training of the MCA staff in GACP and GMP standards, as well as providing consultation to licensees on the design and construction of their production facilities, while building the capability of the MCA’s technical team.
“Implementation of GACP is crucial to farmers’ ability to export internationally or sell cannabis products locally to international buyers,” explained Dr. Gordon. “An understanding of this cultivation standard is therefore a necessity for development of a competitive, compliant medicinal cannabis sector. This training is part of an ongoing process which started from early last year, before the MCA was set up, and involves, among other things, guidance with structuring and roll-out of the regulations, the overall functioning of the industry, design and set up of an analytical capability, the incorporation of traditional ganja farmers across the island into the legal medicinal cannabis industry and training of a technical team, extension officers and inspectorate of the MCA in good agricultural and manufacturing practices.
“The work plan includes consultations with investors and farmers on standards and best practices, including plant layout and design of facilities. It also includes training in Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).”
The training formed part of the SVG Government’s commitment to the strengthening of the position of traditional cultivators within the medicinal cannabis industry to ensure that they are not left behind in an increasingly competitive market environment.
TTSL and its related entities will be working on an ongoing basis with the MCA, farmers and industry, including investors, to ensure that the medicinal cannabis industry in St. Vincent & the Grenadines will be able to meet the highest possible standards, based on European Union (EU)Good Manufacturing Practice, (EU GMP) and EU Good Agricultural and Collection Practices (EU GACP). This is intended to facilitate exports to Europe and other selected markets. TTSL and Dr. Gordon are also involved in providing guidance to the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis in the development of their medicinal cannabis industry.