Barbados Makes Moves to Get Youth Involved In Medical Cannabis Industry

Coming out of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed yesterday between The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus and the Barbados Medicinal Cannabis Licensing Authority (BMCLA), is to be an internship programme for students to get hands-on experience in the medicinal cannabis industry.

Speaking yesterday morning moments before signing the MOU in the main conference room at the Campus, Chief Executive Officer of the BMCLA, Dr. Shantal Monro-Knight, said such a programme would be “extremely strategic” in terms of building an industry in which Barbadian young people can see themselves taking part in.

Her comments came as she said it is hoped the internship programme will be one of the “priority pillars” in the memoranda of agreements that are being developed through the MOU, between the Campus and agencies of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.

“Out of all of the things that we could do under this MOU, for me, that is one that I’m most excited about… And so with this partnership, as well, we are very excited about the opportunity to provide a comprehensive internship programme, where we can have young people working with the Authority, and then in the future, not only within the Authority, but wider within the industry; and that is critical,” she said.

Moreover, she said another priority area that they are hoping to move forward with, is the establishment of a germplasm bank. The BMCLA head said it will be a long-term goal, but noted that it is very critical for the development of the industry.

“We have listened very well to what our stakeholders have been saying to us… and we understood that one of the missing links in terms of how the industry was established, was that we have not rolled out a framework by which we could actually look and see what we had here in Barbados, and the extent to which that could play a part within the medicinal cannabis industry. And so the establishment of a germplasm bank by which we could collect local cultivars, would allow us then to again, be able to make sure that we are grounded within what our community has first,” she said.

Munro-Knight went on to say that the BMCLA is also working closely with Cave Hill Campus’ TradeLab Clinic, managed by the Faculty of Law and Shridath Ramphal Centre for International Trade Law, Policy and Services, in the area of intellectual property (IP). She explained that this is another missing pillar in the industry.

“It’s something that we are extremely excited about – that whole thing of being grounded, and ensuring that our community has ownership, has involvement and participates. And therefore ensuring that we have a robust intellectual property framework is also very, very critical,” she said. (JRT)

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