As the government waits for Governor Augustus Jaspert’s decision on the Cannabis Licensing Bill, Agriculture Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley has said orders are already flowing in from interested persons seeking to cash in on the BVI’s medicinal marijuana industry.
“It’s hurting us. I’ve had persons contact me and tell me how many litres of distillate from the marijuana that they want to order from the BVI and how much they are willing to pay for it. So we already have orders ready,” Dr Wheatley told host Claude Skelton-Cline on the Honestly Speaking radio programme on October 23.
Recently, Premier Andrew Fahie said the BVI was losing millions in revenue as it waits for the Governor to make a decision on the Cannabis Licensing Bill.
Dr Wheatley yesterday reiterated the Premier’s sentiments, saying he has many constituents who could benefit from work in the cannabis industry as they struggle to make ends meet in this COVID-19 era.
“I have lots of person in my district who are suffering without a job and we have a potential source of revenue in COVID-19 period because this industry is completely resilient in the midst of COVID-19. It can provide us with employment, business opportunities as tourism is suffering at the moment,” Dr Wheatley explained.
He added that the government hasn’t received a good reason why the bill hasn’t been approved as yet, except that “they’re still looking at it”.
“I’m really at a loss as to why it hasn’t been assent to,” Dr Wheatley expressed.
He added: “The United Kingdom showing themselves to be a good partner with the people of the Virgin Islands, they would help us develop our economy not hurt our economy.”
Dr Wheatley said the lack of assent to the vital Cannabis Licensing Bill is just one example of the impact that British colonialism has on the BVI, adding that it limits the government’s ability to make vital decisions in the best interest of the people.
“After you go through this whole democratic process, you have debates, you educate the people, you make changes based on what the public says. You go through the first, second and third reading. You go through all of that and then you have one man who can just say none of what you did matters. If we’re not satisfied with it for whatever reason, that entire process will be for nothing,” Dr Wheatley said
The Cannabis Licensing Act sets the framework for the establishment of a medical marijuana industry in the BVI. It was approved by the House of Assembly in July of this year.
Governor Jaspert who will demit office in early 2021 recently told BVI News that he is still considering the Cannabis Licensing Bill.
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