Gov’t to decriminalize local purchase of cannabis by manufacturers and sale of cannabis-based by-products

In what is being described as a quest to develop the cannabis industry in Dominica, parliament may soon table legislation that will decriminalize the sale of cannabis by-products as well as legalize the sale and purchase of cannabis locally for the production of these items.

This announcement came from Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit during his presentation of the  2022/2023 national budget at the First Meeting of the Third Session of the Tenth Parliament on July 26, 2023.

“This Fiscal Year, while work is continuing on the new legislative framework, we will take legislation to the House, to permit agro-processors engaged in manufacturing by-products of cannabis to purchase cannabis locally,” the country’s leader stated. “Agro-processors will be required to carry licenses granted by the Commissioner of Police and other regulating agencies. Furthermore, we will decriminalize the sale of by-products of cannabis such as balms, oils, and creams produced locally.”

According to Skerrit, plans are also in place for the development of the medicinal cannabis industry in Dominica as the Prime Minister revealed that his government is working with the IMPACT Justice Project to prepare the legislative framework.

“A technical committee which includes a wide cross-section of stakeholders has been appointed by the Cabinet and is considering the significant elements necessary for a successful medicinal cannabis industry,” Skerrit, who is also Minister for Finance and Investment, stated.

Voicing his government’s determination to support the growth and development of an agro-processors industry in Dominica, the Prime Minister disclosed that work on the design and the necessary studies for the development of a national agro-processing facility is ongoing in partnership with the CDB.

“To support the growth of micro and small businesses engaged in value-added production, we will continue our support to them,” he said.

According to him, the government will provide $5 million in grants to small businesses, part of which will target micro agro-processors engaged in developing value-added products; provide a separate facility of $1.0 million to support producers of local juices to be able to expand and enhance their production; and lease industrial sheds and land from the AID Bank from its Industrial Estates in Canefield and Grand Bay, to provide space for setting up of facility to provide support and services to microprocessors.

The Prime Minister highlighted an increasing demand for natural essential oils and bay leaf oil, as such, the government will provide a grant in the amount of $100,000 to Dominica Essential Oils to facilitate the production of hand sanitizers and other finished products using local bay oil.

Meanwhile, Skerrit maintained that his government has always made agriculture a priority, hence, he pledged to continue investing in this sector during the 2022/2023 fiscal year to the tune of $55.0 million ($8.2 million under recurrent expenditure and $46.8 under Capital) representing an increase of $15.5 million over the last fiscal year.

“Our investments will be targeted to respond to the new and emerging global challenges as well as opportunities to increase market share locally, regional, and internationally. Our focus is on ensuring that we can increase productivity and production, while at the same time, generating individual and national wealth. Our goal is to increase agriculture’s contribution to GDP to 700 million by 2030,” the Prime Minister declared.

He further revealed his government’s 2023 plan for the agricultural sector will include an increase in the production of agricultural produce, livestock, horticulture, and fishing, to eliminate the need for importation and to increase Dominica’s exports.

Additionally, the plan is to expand market share locally, regionally, and internationally, to enhance the Nature Island brand, increase agro-processing output to add value to the agricultural produce, increased production of fruits and vegetables by expanding cultivation areas, scaling up production through innovation and technology, encouraging new entrants into the markets, adopting requisite technology and the introduction of new varieties.

In the fiscal year 2022/2023, Skerrit said his government will invest an initial $1 million in the provision of greenhouses, saran netting locally (also referred to as cover material), insect netting, equipment, irrigation systems, and other necessities to ensure that fresh vegetables and fruits will be available and affordable year-round.

“Government will also continue its propagation programme to ensure a minimum of 600,000 seedlings are propagated and distributed to farmers at a subsidized price, as an incentive for production. Our propagation capabilities will be complemented by the increased capacity from the Agriculture Science Complex Building at One Mile, which is being constructed to the tune of $13 million with grant funding from the People’s Republic of China.”

He further pointed to increased and targeted investments in the banana industry in Dominica. A special fund, Skerrit stated, in the amount of $1.0 million will be established to support large banana farmers targeting a fixed number of banana farmers based on their historical performance and growth potential.

Expansion in the livestock sector and the concerns of our farmers on the rising cost of animal feed and chicks are also expected to be addressed during this fiscal year.

To meet the demand for locally produced chicken and eliminate the need for imports, Skerrit announced his government’s investment of an initial 10 poultry farmers to increase their capacity to 10,000 chicks.

“The intention is to enable local farmers to be able to fully supply the local market with whole chicken thereby negating the need for imports. In addition to this investment, government will also consider a tariff on whole chicken imported [into] Dominica. This Fiscal Year we will rehabilitate the National Abattoir at a cost of $3.8 million to improve its operations and output.”

He further pledged an additional  $345,000.00 for the purpose of the development of pasture, and forage banks of locally available plant species, undertaking the necessary research and development to formulate animal feed using local materials, as well as subsidizing local hatcheries for a specific period of time till they are able to produce quantities and quality of chicks necessary to sustain local production and possible export.

Additionally, the sum of $5.0 million will be made available to DEXIA as a revolving fund for the procurement of agricultural produce as DEXIA, through the Multi-Purpose Packhouses, will become the organized buyer armed with the responsibility for logistics and packaging solutions to enhance Dominica’s market needs of quality, price and consistency.

To facilitate greater participation by youth in agriculture in the fiscal year 2022/23, Skerrit noted that his government has earmarked $1.0 million to support young people with the drive and passion to farm, and form alliances to set up a farm for the first time or to modernize and expand their current farm facilities.

He said this support will include grants for start-up capital, labour, and supplies to eligible young people.

Meanwhile, 50 farmers who are already in active production, will benefit from a greenhouse introduction and repair programme, and 40 acres of cultivated farms which will benefit from farm irrigation units and irrigation systems will be installed in the farming communities of Calibishie and Salisbury.

As it relates to the Blue Economy, while works continue on the Roseau and Marigot fisheries complex, Skerrit spoke of a new management structure for the fisheries complexes including a public-private partnership to provide professional services for the implementation and maintenance of a HACCP system to meet international standards.

He added that the government will also focus on restoring, enhancing, and establishing key services, infrastructure, slipways, and equipment on a community level at selected Fish Landing Sites, inclusive of FADSs owned by the Government. Interventions costing $700,000.00 are expected to be undertaken in Scotts Head, Soufriere, Fond Cole, Mahaut, Bioche, Dublanc, and San Sauveur among other Fish Landing Sites aimed at collectively improving the overall resilience of the fisheries sector.

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20 Comments

  1. Malick
    August 4, 2022

    Comrade

    I think this is a distraction the Govt is using so Dominicans will not be too focus on passport sales revenue for the next couple of months….even yrs. I also think it is never to late to give our agricultural section much needed attention. There is a tremendous market for the cultivation and processing of cannabis even in our small country. However it needs to be done transparently and correctly.

    If done properly, this can create a tremendous job stream, and investment opportunity for a number of unemployed and business minded Dominicans.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0
    • Follow the Money
      August 4, 2022

      No dude, this is for people who have $ to get license, open dispensary and grow what they sell in controlled environment, under lights and greenhouse. I don’t think they will Want any from out on the open where quality can fluctuate, and local farmers can benefit by growing and selling to the control group. This is pretty much controlled by the U.N to have uniform legislation worldwide. Our chiefs are vassal kings under U.N control. Just legalize it, we are not kids, the market will make it work, if we believe ‘the market’ theory.

  2. Malick
    August 3, 2022

    DNO…There were no post when I submitted mine. Where is my post?

    ADMIN: Your comment has been posted. Check again and if you still do not see it let us know.

  3. Positive
    August 3, 2022

    I believe the Dominican government is moving in the right direction, it will open the door for lots of young people, who are looking for opportunities in the medicinal field ( doctors) SVG has become the first OECS Country to export medicinal cannabis to Europe! It becomes part of there agriculture products, right now there is other Caribbean countries like St. Lucia visited SVG to learn more about it. Yes I believe if government take it very serious good things will happen positively to this beautiful country.
    https://www.stvincenttimes.com/first-ganja-consumption-lounge-opens-in-st-vincent/

  4. If we knew better
    August 3, 2022

    and lease industrial sheds and land from the AID Bank from its Industrial Estates in Canefield and Grand Bay, to provide space for setting up of facility to provide support and services to microprocessors.

    What we need is a brand new industrial site to adequately accommodate the operations themselves. Canefield has no space. Canefield is not suitable for most types of agro processing especially if you talking about food and body products. simply building sheds in grandbay is NOT the suitable approach. We need facilities that operate like laboratories, comprehensive sites with its own amenities like its own port, security service, transportation services, laboratories for R&D of products, bonded warehousing, even housing for workers if need be. Its own port facility its own medical facility in case of injuries. The respective “sheds” need adequate production space with adequate production capacity in mind. i can go on and on.

    • Affa
      August 3, 2022

      No Garson, seems they planning on those who get license to sell weed, most likely with their own green-house to grow it and dispensary.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0
  5. Malick
    August 3, 2022

    The prime Minister and his crew needs to give a better explanation on this process. For Example according to his statement, ““This Fiscal Year, while work is continuing on the new legislative framework, we will take legislation to the House, to permit agro-processors engaged in manufacturing by-products of cannabis to purchase cannabis locally,” the country’s leader stated. “Agro-processors will be required to carry licenses granted by the Commissioner of Police and other regulating agencies. Furthermore, we will decriminalize the sale of by-products of cannabis such as balms, oils, and creams produced locally.”

    This statement say nothing about the cannabis growers. Will growing of cannabis be decriminalized so these agro-processors will have the raw material to process into cremes,soaps, oils etc.?

    Or will this venture be only for a selected few who will be able to secure licenses to grow cannabis? How will the everyday weed grower avoid being prosecuted for cultivating…

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0
    • Al Williams
      August 3, 2022

      That’s what I read in there. Most people just want to smoke freely, the word RECREATIONAL I missing. Who are they fooling? Most people only want the recreational use and some CBD. Man have to grow to sell. Otherwise same ole black market is being technically created all over again.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0
  6. Tyrone Nicholas
    August 3, 2022

    “A technical committee which includes a wide cross-section of stakeholders has been APPOINTED BY THE CABINET (Like Francis Drake, Christopher, hawkings etc) and is considering the significant elements necessary for a successful medicinal cannabis industry,” Skerrit, who is also Minister for Finance and Investment, stated.

    This is where is ALWAYS goes bad.. From the VERY START….

    I keep asking why Dominicans are not sophisticated enough to see through this well timed but hollow posturing.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1
    • Juanita
      August 3, 2022

      Tyrone Nicholas, thank you very much for the morning laugh. I needed it. “A technical committee which includes a wide cross-section of stakeholders has been APPOINTED BY THE CABINET (Like Francis Drake, Christopher, hawkings etc)”
      And, the Pirates of the Caribbean are going all out for new eye patches made out of cannabis. And they’re gonna get high, real high!

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0
    • Ibo France
      August 4, 2022

      ‘Hollow poster ing’ is such an apt description of this bogus plan. It will stay in the planning stage and meet its demise.

      Let’s not forget that this tainted and illegitimate regime’s words and actions are diametrically opposite to each other.

  7. Braindamage
    August 3, 2022

    All the years went by, Skerrit failed to give heed to agriculture in Dominica.
    Passports are not selling now… is marijuana the failed and corrupt leader wants to deal with now..
    Too late…

  8. Affa
    August 3, 2022

    Common get with it. People just want to smoke freely without the required RACIST jail time, and grow hemp to make CBD oil for all the health benefits minus imprisonment. Other by-products, those are for export, just help secure existing markets that are out there. Get with it already!

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1
  9. Tt
    August 3, 2022

    A move in the right direction. The criminalizing of cannabis was as short sited and rooted in ignorance and racism as alcohol prohibition.
    Now with that free people who are serving time for cannabis possession and sale. If it grows on its own it can’t be illegal. Who are we to criminalize God’s work?

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2
  10. J.J
    August 2, 2022

    I Love That we The Youth Will Get Support

  11. dissident
    August 2, 2022

    Pie in de sky promises to the ordinary man…… Skerrit always had his plan for marijuana……he and his friends will be de profiteers.
    They told everyone that they can have 3 trees in their yard……but their friends were shipping it like crazy! Look at the vehicle some of dem drive.
    Remember you have to get permission from the police commissioner…..if you not on their side forget it.
    This doesn’t sound like an initiative from the blue and green agriculture minister.
    De ministry of agriculture doh have no say in dat……is de police dat controlling…..through Skerrit of course

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0
  12. Truth Be Told
    August 2, 2022

    Oh my goodness! Our Prime Minister is late on everything, he is no leader, we always last! First he stopped our international airport and told us Dominica did not need an international airport! So long Lennox advocating agro-processing in Cannabis and PM against the idea because it comes from UWP. Now he all for Cannabis, Agriculture and Agro-processing! But you know what is really said is not the PM but his suporters! When he make those bad decisions all his supporters clapping and screaming yeah! When he makes those turnsrounds all his supporters either staying quiet or clapping again and shouting yeah! And that is why Dominica is last kakarat, not because of PM but because of those dumb Labour sheep followers holding Dominica back!

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0
    • Ibo France
      August 4, 2022

      You cannot exclude Roosevelt from culpability. It is both his sheep-like supporters and himself.

      A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves. His supporters are differently abled mentally. Lie Clown, Dog Mess, ds, Gary, Lizforsatan readily come to mind.

  13. derp
    August 2, 2022

    The cannabis must be coming out from thin air because I know for a fact that cannabis is not indigenous to Dominica, how are people getting the seeds, when it is ILLEGAL to import seeds into Dominica, come on now Dominica what kind of backwards laws you have in the nature island! Free up the restrictions! The government of Dominica is encouraging people to engage in illegal activities!

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

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