Last Monday, August 30, 2021, the Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines officially opened the laboratory at the Medicinal Cannabis Authority (MCA) at Rivulet; a major step in the drive to firmly established the medicinal cannabis industry.
The laboratory is a public/private partnership, between the Medicinal Cannabis Authority (MCA), and Caribbean Gold Standard. The MCA has invested over $EC700,000 for the construction of the building and Caribbean Gold Standard provided all the equipment for the laboratory. CEO of Caribbean Gold Standard Mathias Piasceki, told the assembled guests and media that the partnership means a lot to Caribbean Gold Standards, and “we have been here for quite a while working on this project, and today marks the finish of one phase of this project but the beginning of what we hope to be a long and fruitful endeavour with not only the medicinal cannabis industry, but also the population as a whole.”
Since 2018 Caribbean Gold Standard has been working with Dr. Jerrol Thompson CEO of the MCA, and Minister of Agriculture Saboto Caesar, “understanding the need, understanding the direction of the industry as it was meant to be presented here, versus some of the experiences we had coming from the States.” The Caribbean Gold Standard official added that they immediately saw the passion and the dedication to demonstrate how serious and how technically supported this industry was meant to be. “We really felt gravitated towards everyone here at the MCA and everyone at the Ministry that has worked on this project, because of that serious attention to the details and the desire to make sure that they were providing the best and most up to date services as not only a lab, but as a regulatory body and as an industry setting forth to improve patient care and experience and to educate everyone on the opportunity this creates.”
CEO of the MCA, Dr. Jerrol Thompson, in expressing his excitement of the completion of the project, noted that laboratory will serve as the passport for export of medicinal cannabis to markets as far as Europe. He further stated that the laboratory consists of over $2 million of highly sophisticated that includes a real time quantitative PCR (qPCR) machine detect and quantify bacteria and other germs. “The laboratory is also equipped with a High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) to measure the potency of the cannabinoids and a Mass Spectrometry to detect pesticides and other compounds” Dr. Thompson informed.
Minister Caesar who has been at the forefront of development of the Medical Marijuana Industry said it demands a lot of time and effort to develop the right policies and structures for a beneficial industry. He commented that, “Success can be very humbling,” adding that they have established a mantra in the Ministry of Agriculture, “that medicinal wellness begins and ends with science,” as he underscored what was said by the International Narcotics Board that “Any plant can be used for scientific research, and for medicinal purposes.”
Delivering the feature address, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph E. Gonsalves, noted that Licensees have invested over EC$20 million thus far (excluding license fees) as part of financing infrastructure set-up and production activities, providing income for over 200 Vincentians (temporary jobs). He further stated that close to 100 persons are employed presently in cultivation, transportation, drying, packaging, storing, and processing (manufacturing) activities. Prime Minister Gonsalves stated that he was delighted to learn that “a significant amount of the persons employed are young women and young men, while traditional cultivators are playing a leading role on several farms as master growers.”
In delivering the vote of thanks, Assistant Secretary at the MCA, Ms. Reah Edwards, thanked the MCA staff, Invest SVG and the Research and Development staff at this Rivulet facility for working extremely hard over the weekend to get everything in order for the event.
SOURCE: Medicinal Cannabis Authority (MCA)