Leader of the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP), Godwin Friday, says the government must ensure that any medical marijuana industry established in St. Vincent and the Grenadines benefits citizens.

“Whatever happens with the developments with respect to medical marijuana . . . or those persons here in St Vincent and the Grenadines who are engaged in providing products to the people who may make medicine and so on, whatever we do has to benefit our people,” Dr. Friday is reported to have said on his party’s radio programme New Times on the weekend.

“It can’t be a situation where you’re simply inviting multinational pharmaceutical corporations to essentially come and dominate an industry that our local people here can benefit from,” he was quoted as saying in a report by CMC News.

Dr. Friday said that over the last three years, the situation with respect to medical and recreational marijuana and marijuana in general, has changed dramatically in terms of public opinion in St Vincent, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and also in North America.

He noted that Canada is expected to pass legislation this year to legalise marijuana for medicinal and recreational use.

He said that in 2015, the party had an internal discussion about the matter and had formed the opinion then that “medicinal marijuana, the use of it, is something that really we cannot, as a country and as a party oppose.

The opposition leader said at the time, the NDP did not make a public statement on its discussion, but said that the party’s position has not changed.

He acknowledged that the government has been talking about the establishment of a medical marijuana industry the country and there is widespread discussion throughout the CARICOM.

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