BVI News

Food security now the priority but medical marijuana initiative still coming — Dr Wheatley

Agriculture Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley said while the focus is on food security at this time, government’s plan to cultivate and produce medicinal marijuana will still happen.

Minister Wheatley said the interest remains high from persons who are want to become farmers in the industry.

“That is something that is coming as well … [but] government is not putting much money into the marijuana initiative, mainly investors” Dr Wheatley told BVI News on Friday.

“Food production right now is the priority but we are going to do other things as well to create jobs and business opportunities to get money into the economy.”

In the meantime, the minister said government is now seeking land for agriculture on all the territory’s major islands. He said these lands will be provided to farmers for food production.

The promise for medical marijuana

Roughly 100 Virgin Islanders are expected to each receive a half-acre plot of land from the government for the cultivation and production of medicinal marijuana in Paraquita Bay, Tortola, Premier Andrew Fahie had said back in January.

The Premier had further said government is currently working on incentives for potential investors to have at least one of them set up shop here in the BVI.

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25 Comments

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  1. Love for MyCountry says:

    Mr. Wheatley where are you going with this marijuana story. Do you not see what is happening globally and where we should be channeling our efforts? We need to growing and producing food to feed our people! Are you not seeing what I and others are seeing? We import everything and most of the things we eat come from the US. Food facilities in the US are closing down rapidly due to the effects of the virus thus providing a shortage for them. With their shortage they are not going to export certain foods for they need it to feed their people. Get rea;l man!

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    • ... says:

      Marijuana is a food crop. The whole plant is edible and survives in the dry weather conditions that are common to these islands.

      When will you understand a farm is more than a single crop. One more to the list wont hurt no food production.

      In fact it will boost food production because there will be more incentive for persons to become farmers.

      More money for farmers to reinvest in their farms.

      How much you think farmers make selling $1 a pound crops when good weed is over $3000 a pound?

      Ask [supermarket] about the marijuana milk, and the split marijuana seeds that they import.

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      • ??? says:

        Both you and the minister must have been smoking some of that ganja. 50 acres for marijuana instead of food crops, that ganja must be really really good.

  2. 2020 says:

    Good going. When all is said and done and the way this world going especially with the greed of wicked humans on the rise, planting and rearing our food is the best move. We can’t eat the money from financial services sand sea and sun.

    Start farming – producing ground food crops, all vegetables that can grow under our climate; fishing and rearing cattle for milk and meat, fowls for eggs and meat, hogs sheep goats etc. Government should consider importing such animals live now whilst the prices are right given the current state of the global economyand let those who want to go in the agriculture business purchase them. This will be a good transition for some in the tourism industry that lost jobs. The Government should be able to lease land too to these individuals for a nominal fee. Why? 1) The land just sitting there now earning no return for Government. 2) Those in the business of agriculture will have to look at this project as a real busines and would not need to be too concerned when another greedy human being try to not renew the lease because of the prosperity of the hardworking farmer. Yes, got to think way in the future.

    The marijuana production can be exported.

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  3. Mooo says:

    Cows need good pasture and gentle ground to produce good milk. Forget about dairy farming in the BVI, that is a dream. Thought must be put in to show how to irrigate all these new farms that are envisioned

    And will all locals be considered for the farm land or just one type of local?

    • @Moo says:

      BVI had cows that produced milk for the populace. The production may not be enough for export but enough for population sustenance. Besides, they not feeding on grass alone these days. Another reason why BVI should not seek independence but work with the mother land to be able to import farm products. America wouldn’t give you anything. They will hostage goods going out. You people need to have vision – learn to develop international relations. You are your ownselves enemies the way you tear each other down.

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      • The Milkman says:

        I remember getting milk from the milkman at the agriculture station at fish lock road every morning back in the 70s. This gentleman from Lower Estate, Mr. Gumbs use to work there. Milk use to be in a glass bottle in time for our early morning milo and porridge. Then we start getting pet milk from England from Mr. Haycraft. Back then, the people who had the money to buy use to feel like they better than others. Import advancement started to improve and economy boom.
        Good old days mehson

  4. 2020 says:

    Concerning the marijuana production, why not still plant now and export the raw product until we get ourselves properly set up. This require changing the laws NOW. Wht wait unless the Government has a hidden agenda the people know not. With the dishonesty of man these days can’t trust a word that man utters.

    So tell us, when is Government going to change the laws so that those who can farm it and sell raw to the developed world can process it into medicinal use? Why really wait. Government does not need to have its hands in every pot – many times this is the problem.

    Also it seems like when a small man will benefit himself and in the eyes of the greedy there is always some hold up or red tape. Come out and tell us why the foregoing would not work.

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  5. Really? says:

    I completely understand but you arrest ppl for weed yet ready to supplement rebuilding your economy on it. I don’t think that’s fair. It’s like telling a child not to do something but your doing it. I see no difference in this and the average weed man. If that’s the case marijuana should be somewhat legalized or as other places have done…. just don’t arrest ppl for small amts. You’ll save money having on having to prosecute ppl for such a petty “crime”. Crazy ppl complain about weed but now it’s ok.

  6. Dope boy minister friend says:

    No weed legalization .. no to drugs we don’t even have good police system or regular farming systems y’all talking about weed …… we got a bunch of gangster politions

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  7. The Nation says:

    Wonder if muda country going let BWeI get medical marijuana before she

  8. voiceofthevoiceless says:

    Why are we focusing our efforts and scarce resources on medical marijuana when it involves highly scientific training and the market is already competitive. Focus on what we need to sustain ourselves. The same land plots should be allotted to farmers who can grow crops and rear livestock for local consumption. We also will need to legalize it so that banks can recognize the financial proceeds. All this takes time.

    Or is it possible that they have already committed to some investor who is going to purchase the medical marijuana wholesale for export?

    We really need to rethink this.

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  9. Legalize says:

    I fully support this initiative. This plant is a medicine and spiritual sacrament, a gem in the treasure box that is natures little secrets.

    All they need to do is change the law and let us grow our own.

    This is the internal market. This is what tourist will buy when they come here.

    No need to export it for us to prosper by the addition of this extra crop.

    But still it is not supposed to be about the money.

    It is about the health and safety of those who want to use this god given seed bearing herb in peace. Arthritis, glaucoma, DEPRESSION.

    In America and Canada cannabis is an ESSENTIAL service during this covid-19 pandemic.

    This is one of the last chains placed upon us by the colonial powers. Move us all towards greater freedom to live as we choose.

    Christians it is right there in genesis.

    Write a comment and turn out to the events.

    “Change the law Now!”

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  10. Me says:

    Wheatley stop stop ,people are crying out in a more resourceful manner u hear talking about ur cronies /yourself let’s get focus dude food first
    U guys keep going around on the blocks listen to lazy youngsters they sound a lot like u gangster politicians.They say what u guys promised now u turn ur back on them give us priority food over ganga

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    • @me says:

      No one ‘on the block’ cares. They do their thing regardless.

      Yet there will be no point to smuggle in weed (And corona virus) when it is OK for it to be grown locally.

      If there is one group that is calling for it most it is the farmers. Support your farmers.

  11. Diaspora says:

    Big frightening, pealing and rolling thunder, dazzling lightening, and violent tossing gray clouds but no rain. For decades, successive governments have waxed about reducing the food bill, increasing agriculture production, enhancing food security………etc yet nothing substantial happen. It is much old talk. To be fair, the VIP has only been in power for a year and the territory is in the midst of a pandemic, a tanking economy……etc so all the blame cannot be heap on it.

    Nonetheless.the current situation should have raised the anxiety about the urgency of food security. It is time to act. Stop tinkering around the edges with little discrete actions to create the impression that something big is being done. Stop chasing every shiny object, ie, medical marijuana(CBD). The BVI needs a comprehensive, holistic agricultural plan. Let’s see a planning, programming, budgeting action plan for agriculture.

    • RealPol says:

      @Diaspora, “ Big frightening, pealing and rolling thunder, dazzling lightening, and violent tossing gray clouds but no rain.” Funny. But got the point of lots of action but no work done. You got to watch the outcome, not all the actions. These are often distractions. It is like a pitcher on the softball mound with lots of antics but you got to stay focus and discipline and keep your eye on the ball.

      Governments keep overpromising and underdelivering on agriculture. Stop the Nancy tory that agriculture is the next economic pillar and do something to reduce the food import bill and enhance food security. Someone said last week that the BVI imports 99% of its food. That number may be too high but the number is still high. Others have listed the benefits of growing more food locally so I will not list them here.

      • @RealPol says:

        @RealPol, Softball. What is that? Softball was dying on the vine before but Hurricane Irma kill it. It is rather puzzling that a territory with an approx $1B Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and an annual Operations and Maintenance (O&M) budget cannot installed lights, sod the field and irrigate field, fix the stands and restrooms at soft fields of a sport that was once the national sport. It is either that it (government) is incompetent or it does give a damn about sofball.

        Claude Skelton-Cline father ( Jule was a skilled catcher) and uncles were softball players so perhaps we need to get him to conduct softball’s last rites. Not impressed with Ministry responsible for sports; the former minister also neglected softball. “ Big frightening, pealing and rolling thunder, dazzling lightening, and violent tossing gray clouds but no rain.” Indeed,

    • @ says:

      Your constant distinction and attempted redefinition of medicinal marijuana seems to be an effort to deny persons their choice of appropriate medicine.

      Please educate yourself further on this topic.

      As for what ails our agricultural sector… lack of interest, affordability of land, and possible high overhead in a risky business where the profit is not assured.

      If we want to improve food security we can not shun any dry weather cash crops (cannabis) nor depend on a few persons to produce food.

      Let the agricultural officers come around and assist person at their homes, provide affordable plants of practical dry weather species, and do this on a territory wide basis.

      While they are at it provide fishing lessons and affordable nets. When the fry come in there is literally enough protein near shore to feed us all for the whole year.

      Perhaps salted and powdered for storage or canned like sardines.

  12. Muff says:

    The bible says that wisdom the principal thing, therefore we should get it, and in all thine getting we must get understanding(common sense). But i”ve notice that some people are so educated that ignores command sense. There are so many reason to promote food farming in the bvi.1) The FDA is poisoning us 2) the soil here is fertile 3) we can’t eat marijuana 4) a rich nation is one that can feed its people 5) if tropical ship ain’t sail for one month we in big trouble. Wake up Mr Minister..

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  13. Tourism says:

    Legal Pot is a good idea. Having the government dole out only 100 ‘legal’ growers is a bad idea. Make it legal to grow and sell your own weed and advertise it. We need tourism! Recreational Marijuana can drive tourist to come back to the BVI. Let guys like Foxie show you how it is done. Hemp Fest and other ‘holidays’ will get us back to a tourism destination. How you going to pick these 100 guys. How is someone in Jost Van Dyke or Virgin Gorda going to participate. You are just handing out money to your friends again….STOP IT!

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    • Agreed says:

      Agreed all they need to do is change the law.

      For the record they did say that private persons would be able to do grow it.

      The 100 farmers thing is government trying to put their hands in the cookie jar saying they will give the farmers %5 of the profit.

      Change the law let everyone grow it and many people can benefit right now. From the farmers, to the consumers, the tourism sector, bar owners all the way down to the crafts alive vendors.

  14. Talker says:

    I have no faith in this minister to get anything done. He is a talker. That’s it.

  15. open ur eyes says:

    BVI Landers out heree need that same 1/2 acre of land u giving to those 100 farmer to plant weed. We young BVI Lander who were not born with gold spoon or don’t have family to get land from need land too RENT killing us!

  16. Open mind says:

    Medicine is still needed just as much as food. If it’s for true medical purpose it should be continued. Corona is not going to last forever and productivity should not be halted. It should be minimized for due to our circumstances.

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