Government to pass laws to implement medical cannabis industry

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The Government of Antigua and Barbuda is planning to go to Parliament by the end of this year to pass laws allowing for the growing, harvesting, processing and selling of medical marijuana.
Legislation was recently passed permitting the possession of 15 grammes of ganja and the growing of four cannabis plants per household. 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 that can relieve discomfort and pain in sickle-cell, epilepsy and asthma patients, as well as for the treatment of other human diseases.
Lionel “Max” Hurst, the government’s chief of staff spoke with OBSERVER media on the matter, stating that with the laws in place, a board would be established to issue licenses to local farmers using the Canadian model as its guide.
The government is currently in talks with three Canadian experts who appeared recently before Cabinet.
One of the three has promised to return to Antigua to provide further assistance.
Hurst assured the public that the government would look at the best policies to ensure the smooth running of the industry.
“Although we cannot say at this moment what exactly that criteria would be, we are in talks with experts from Canada in this area to have the best laws put in place since we will be following their method.”
He also gave reasons  why a Canadian model would be used instead of a model from a neighbouring island such as Jamaica that has a number of medical cannabis companies operating there.
“After looking at what is being done in Jamaica, we thought that the Canadian model was closer to what we would want to achieve here. In my understanding, after reading reports from Cabinet that the Jamaican law was structured for farmers to grow the product on a large scale, but the problem is that they are not aware of what they are growing, the quantity or the substances in the plant itself in regards to its use as a pharmaceutical.”
Hurst also added that a lack of security and inspectors who would supervise the farmers on these matters were other reasons why the Jamaican model was not chosen, and that they hope to learn from the Jamaican mistakes to make the industry a success here.

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