Local government is being reminded of an unexplored avenue to healing the sick, and a new way to provide more jobs and funds for the economy — medical marijuana.
Kevin Hoffman, the owner of Full Circle Incorporated – a licensed marijuana cultivation, extraction and processing facility in Rhode Island, USA – said medical marijuana has earned him millions since his company’s inception three years ago.
Hoffman – who previously sailed BVI waters as a boat captain for three decades – said, as a medical marijuana businessman, he has witnessed the ‘miracles’ of the marijuana firsthand.
“I was amazed and I wouldn’t believe it had medical value unless I saw it with my own eyes,” he told BVI News in an exclusive interview at the inaugural marijuana festival on Jost Van Dyke on Saturday.
“I saw it over and over again with cancer patients, chemotherapy patients … It works miracles for hundreds of thousands of people,” he added.
However, Hoffman said despite marijuana’s benefits, legislators must exercise caution if marijuana is to be legalised or even decriminalised.
“Learn from other people’s mistakes. Get the regulatory and compliance — the way you roll out a programme like this is of utmost importance. If you make a mistake and do it wrong, you are going to have many negative consequences. So it has to be very well thought out, structured, regulatory and compliance framework,” he advised.
He said if the drug is going to be sold in the public domain, it needs to be ‘cleaned and tested’.
“We have seen some negative consequences in places that were not thoughtful in their roll-out. So that is the most important thing – you’re licensing of dispensaries, of cultivators, testing labs. Everything has to be structured. ”
He said: “If you just flip the switch and say it’s legal and everyone can grow it, everybody is going to be selling it in their backyard and selling it on the beach, and they won’t be able to monetize it — it’s a business.”
“It’s just like alcohol,” he explained.
“It’s a regulated business and you can create hundreds of jobs in the territory and millions and millions of dollars of revenue,” he reasoned.
Decriminalising marijuana a journey, not a battle
Michael Rego, a former narcotics detective, is now the Chief Executive Officer of Temescal Wellness located in Maryland, USA.
The company provides patients in New Hampshire, Massachusettes and Maryland with a variety of high-quality cannabis medicines and education.
“The journey has been quite a bit but it has been unbelievable,” he said.
“I’m here to tell you the days of fear and intimidation is over and if done correctly it (marijuana) will be a safe, life-changing medicine for many, many people.”
Some 30 states in the US have passed laws to establish comprehensive public marijuana medical programmes.
In the meantime, manager at Foxy’s Tamarind Bar Thomas Warner had also delivered remarks at the marijuana festival.
“One of the most important aspects of the decriminalization of marijuana is turning it into something that can be a benefit to the community — making a business out of it.”
He also urged authorities to consider legalizing marijuana in the correct way. He said the road to decriminalising the drug is ‘a journey and not a battle’.
He said, if legitimised, marijuana businesses can be taxed and the revenue can be pumped back into the local economy.
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