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Barbados aims to get competitive edge in Caribbean cannabis

Barbados says it will kickstart its medicinal cannabis industry in January 2021.  The island says it wants to gain a competitive edge over other Caribbean countries seeking to legalize cannabis and next year will be one of action.

Agriculture and Food Security minister wants to keep as much of the value chain in the country as it can and export only finished product. 

The island is the second Caribbean country after Jamaica to legalize medicinal cannabis and the industry will be under the control of a will take a new Medicinal Cannabis Licensing Authority.  


Barbados Caribbean Cannabis, Caribbean Cannabis Farmer

Range of licenses on offer


Minister: ‘Now is the time to capitalize on opportunity’

Agriculture and Food Security Minister Indar Wier told a public forum on 10 December 2020 that there were  considerable economic benefits: “something that we cannot turn a blind eye to. We have to capitalize on any opportunity that confronts us now because later on it will not be here. There will be too many other options. We have to leverage our position now,” 

He said there would be an orderly launch to the cannabis industry in January 2021. He was quoted by the Barbados Government Information Service, saying: “The industry must get started … People will be allowed to enter, (but) not everybody is going to be able to start at the same time.”


Barbados Caribbean Cannabis, Indar Wier, Food Security Minister

Barbados’s Weir: ‘we want to keep the value chain on the island’


The minister said the medical cannabis industry will not be a repeat of the sugar industry, in which little value has been added to the raw product before being sold.  Weir said only finished products will be exported, keeping most of the value chain in the country.

“We created a complete value chain so that at any part of that value chain we can enter.”


New regulatory body

The law mandates the creation of the Barbados Medicinal Cannabis Licensing Authority, which will develop regulations to govern the industry.

The agency will be responsible for:

  • Regulating medical cannabis.
  • Issuing licenses.
  • Establishing a database for the electronic tracking of cannabis.
  • Establishing a register of practitioners, patients and caregivers.

After the agency is formed, it will be required to develop standards and codes of practice to be observed by licensees, as well as determining fees.

Cultivation licenses are being offered in tiers:

  • Tier 1 cultivation licenses are limited to less than 1 acre. 
  • Second-tier permits will be limited to 1-5 acres and 
  • Tier 3 license holders will be allowed to cultivate more than 5 acres of medical cannabis.

Business licenses will be available for:

  • The cultivation of cannabis for medical purposes.
  • Transport.
  • Manufacturing of medical cannabis products.
  • Dispensing at a therapeutic facility.
  • Sale of medicinal cannabis.
  • Research and development for medical or scientific purposes.
  • Laboratory testing.
  • Importing of medical cannabis.
  • Exporting of medical cannabis.

Licenses will be valid for three years and are not renewable.


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The Medicinal Cannabis Licensing Board will be formed to oversee the Medicinal Cannabis Licensing Authority.

Regulations might still be made with respect to:

  • The administration and use of medical cannabis.
  • Preventing “improper use” of medical cannabis.
  • How medical marijuana is issued by pharmacists to patients.
  • Advertising.
  • Labeling.
  • A minimum size of packages in which cannabis may be supplied.



Medical cannabis may be dispensed in a pharmacy or at a therapeutic facility.

A therapeutic facility is a premises that has been granted a Retail Distributor License to sell, dispense or provide medical cannabis prescribed or recommended by a medical practitioner.

Dispensing may be conducted only by a pharmacist or authorized personnel under the supervision of a pharmacist.

Where a prescription or recommendation by a medical practitioner requires repeated usage of medical marijuana, a pharmacy or therapeutic facility will not be allowed to supply more than 30 days worth of medicine.

The law, which covers activities related to cultivation, processing, dispensing and export, empowers the Medicinal Cannabis Licensing Authority to develop policies and guidelines for a newly regulated medicinal marijuana industry.

The Cannabis Industry Bill allows medical cannabis to be prescribed by a practitioner to Barbadians or visitors to the island.


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