Officials are said to be considering ways of raising funds through the Barbados Stock Exchange (BSE) to help fund development and innovation in the burgeoning medicinal cannabis industry.

Word of this has come from Shantal Munro-Knight, Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Medicinal Cannabis Licensing Authority (BMCLA), who said every effort was being made to ensure that locals have a major stake in the industry.

Munro-Knight opted not to say what mechanisms were being considered for raising funds through the BSE, but added that critical to the growth of the medical cannabis industry was the creation of strategic linkages and innovation.

"One of the proposals that has come before us is for raising financing through a stock exchange mechanism. I won't speak to that definitively because that is under consideration, but just to signal that our intent is as much as possible to facilitate innovation in the industry and create as much critical linkages and make sure there are benefits right across the spectrum for Barbadians," Munro-Knight told journalists in an online media conference recently.

Stating that there were opportunities for individuals to get involved in the industry indirectly, including in retail and distribution, she said one linkage that had tremendous potential was that between the medicinal cannabis industry and health and wellness tourism.

"Certainly, I think there is tremendous potential for this industry to really contribute nationally, not only in the context of just fees from licences, but the potential for jobs and the potential that this industry has to touch so many different areas even in the area of tourism," she said.

"There are a number of initiatives that we want to be able to explore to create those linkages with the tourism sector as well. So there are lots of potential there for even people who do not want to touch the plant and don't necessarily want to get involved directly in a licensed application," she explained.

Meanwhile, Programme Administrator of the BMCLA Shanika Roberts-Odle said the agency was making it as seamless as possible for individuals to get involved, pointing out that there was now a fully online application process.

"What that means is that we have developed an online application form where you can go on and complete your application at your leisure and you can save it for later. We send you a code and when you decide to come back on you [complete] your application . . . You then also upload all the additional documents we ask you for," she explained.

"Further to that, we have also worked through with the Ministry of Innovation Science and Smart Technology (MIST) so that you can pay your application fee via EasyPay and you can also pay your licence fees via Easypay," she said, adding that once the application process is complete individuals and businesses are updated periodically on the status of those applications.

In addition to a raft of critical information on the industry, the portal also provides an online "concierge desk", where individuals are able to get help from officials.

Previously published 29 Jan, 2021.

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