Sun | Sep 24, 2017

Briefing | We need our own Marijuana Index in the Caribbean

Published:Wednesday | April 12, 2017 | 4:00 AMDr Andre Haughton

What is a marijuana index?

The global cannabis industry values more than US$150 billion currently. Cannabis sales in North America alone were more than US$7 billion in 2016.

A marijuana index lists the stocks of the major marijuana firms. The North America Marijuana Index, https://marijuanaindex.com/ lists all the major marijuana stocks on a combined North American Index and then separately for America and Canada. I have been tracking the movement of the stocks over the last few months and they are performing excellently. This is the same for Europe and I believe it is headed in the direction of a global index. The Caribbean must prepare itself so as not to be caught off guard, considering that we are aware of what is going on. The global industry will exist with or without the Caribbean's participation in the market. It is better to organise now to increase the Caribbean's share of this global industry.

What is Scarce Commodity's objective?

Against this backdrop, Scarce Commodity was established by the University of the West Indies to provide consultation, technical support, educate, enhance and market the potential of the Caribbean's cannabis/marijuana/hemp industries in a sustainable manner. Scarce Commodity places a strong focus on improving health, expanding industries and creating wealth for the region.

Scarce Commodity's objectives include, but are not limited to, assisting the Caribbean region to understand the importance of the cannabis/hemp industries to increasing growth in GDP per capita, increase intraregional trade, increase foreign currency inflow to the region, increase GDP capita, increase standard of living, reduce the cost of infrastructural development, reduce the cost of energy and, therefore, increasing regional integration and economic development.

What is the issue?

Intraregional trade within CARICOM is the lowest among all trading blocs in the world. Intraregional trade in the Caribbean and Latin America is fourth in the world.

As it relates to global trade and commerce at present, the Caribbean region does not have sufficient commodities to trade within itself and, by extension, does not have enough to trade with the rest of the world sufficiently. As a result, countries have been disenfranchised from each other. Gold is a commodity, rice is a commodity, corn is a commodity, wheat is a commodity, and cannabis and hemp are commodities that will give the Caribbean an opportunity to have a footing in global trade and commerce. Scarce Commodity understands where the global financial markets headed; currently, https://marijuanaindex.com has a solid template that Scarce Commodity will follow and gradually implement for the Caribbean.

How will it operate?

The UWI has put together a team of experts to establish Scarce Commodity to act as the overarching umbrella under which all the alternative Cannabis/marijuana companies will fall.

Scarce Commodity has been conducting extensive semi- structured interviews with respective stakeholders, including but not limited to, the Government officials in the Caribbean and North America, the respective ganja growers associations, the CLAs and cannabis business owners in Colorado, Barcelona and Washington to gain feedback to provide the best packaged proposal to the region. The results emanating suggest that in an attempt to not remain left behind further, and to move Caribbean nations forward, Scarce Commodity should receive minimal bureaucratic hindrances from government ministries, departments and agencies in all countries.

The implementation of the proposed strategy will require a coordinated effort, both internally and externally, from everyone to bring the concept to light.

How will Scarce Commodity integrate the Caribbean?

- The Scarce Commodity Magazine (currently in production) and Scarce Commodity TV are media through which the entity carries out its mandate.

- Scarce Commodity has been packaging and disseminating information on the potential benefits of marijuana under colour codes: green for THC (or tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical responsible for most of marijuana's psychological effects) pink for CBD (cannabinoid), and the gold for 'ital' on its apparel.

- Scarce Commodity has been conducting economic impact assessment of cultural events which includes cannabis festivals. Based on recommendation from the assessment of the 14th Annual Stepping High Cannabis Festival, Scarce Commodity is UWI Cannabis Cup next Thursday, April 20, at UWI, Mona.

Be there.

- Scarce Commodity is in negotiation with a local proprietor to build an 'innocent' plant village (permanent cannabis village) where local and international tourist can visit, similar to that in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Colorado, Washington, and other states and cities abroad.

 

Why is Scarce Commodity relevant?

 

Granting a few licence to a few parties from oversees will minimise the regions ability to benefit holistically. The region is already behind.

Decriminalisation and legalisation of medical marijuana without regulated production has been strongly advised against, based on the recommendations from the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS). Before we regulate we must create.

If not, production has been and will remain in its same haphazard nature and the fight against illegal production will not cease.