The medicinal cannabis industry does not have immunity against the negative implications from the COVID-19 pandemic, says Minister of Agriculture Forestry, Fisheries, Rural transformation industry and labor, Saboto Caesar. Stating that the industry has nevertheless shown great resilience during such uncertain times, the minister added that some marketers have indicated increased demand for medicinal cannabis to address issues of anxiety and the like associated with the pandemic.
The minister’s comments were made in parliament this month, outlining that due to the pandemic outbreak, the industry experienced several challenges, which were not limited to unforeseen disruptions in the movement of technical and administrative personnel due to the closures of borders. He added that there has also been a disruption in shipping, which has caused delays in material for infrastructural development.
These disruptions have resulted in the need for the realignment and re-evaluation of business plans and strategies in an effort to move forward successfully within industry.
Despite this drawback, the Agriculture minister highlighted that the government witnessed its largest capital investment and expansion in the industry by way of foreign direct investment in the area of infrastructural on farm development in the cannabis industry in SVG.
Caesar, further expressing confidence in the industry, added that over the last two months the industry has nevertheless continued to push forward, noting that the Analytical Service Provider facility, which is under construction at Enhams, is now 97% completed and is expected to be fully operational by year end.
He further divulged that the MCA has the full engagement of the leading seed to sale Canadian operator ‘Ample Organics’ which is essential for the traceability of the entire supply chain and prevention against diversion. He also stated that the MCA has trained almost 100 medical technicians in the field of medicine to address issues of the dispensing of cannabis and cannabis usage for patient access.
Infrastructure work in the industry has provided income for over 150 persons while in actual cannabis cultivation, there are 53 persons gainfully employed across licensees, stated Caesar.
Minister Caesar took the opportunity to commend the staff at the MCA as well as all stakeholders involved for their dedication towards building a thriving medicinal cannabis industry in SVG.