THE Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) is not investing in marijuana.
CDB director (projects department) Daniel Best made this point during a seminar on agriculture at the 49th Annual Board of Governors meeting at Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain yesterday. During the question and answer segment, a delegate who identified himself as Malcolm Davis, asked if the bank would consider investing in marijuana as an emerging industry in the Caribbean.
Davis argued that unlike other agricultural commodities, marijuana is a product which does not require any significant training. He said there are communities in the region which have developed creative ways to cultivate marijuana together. Davis said a study done in Jamaica showed that the cultivation of marijuana could create job opportunities for at least 70,000 people. He claimed there could be significant indirect opportunities for other people in an emerging marijuana industry.
In response, Best said the bank is not looking at investing in marijuana. He explained the reason for this is because marijuana is "still an illegal commodity" in many of the CDB's member countries.
Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute executive director Barton Clarke observed there is some research on marijuana which is currently taking place in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Last December, Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi said legislation on the decriminalisation of marijuana will be brought to Parliament in the first half of this year. Al-Rawi said there had already been consultations with groups and individuals on the issue. There have been some public consultations on decriminalising marijuana earlier this year. The Opposition Leader has described a parliamentary debate on decriminalising marijuana as a distraction by the Government.