The first week of May 2022 yielded two SVG premieres; On Monday, May 02, Emergency Communications First Responders (EFR) conducted a Communications Readiness/Ability Test from SVG’s four highest hills, namely: La Soufriere, “My Peggy” in Bequia, Mt. Royal to Canouan and Mt. Taboi to Union Island; and starting the first weekend of May on a much softer tone, the official launch of the ‘Greenhouse Café’, the first cannabis consumer lounge in the Caribbean, provides an upscale environment for ‘patients’ to benefit from the therapeutic effect of cannabis and cannabis products.
As fate would have it, I was part of the first activity being part of the Mount Taboi Climbing Team and on Friday, May 06, I was able to witness firsthand a “gentle” opening of the “Greenhouse Café” located on the premises of the Coconut Grove Beach Club; what should be a very profitable business when well run. I see this new beginning as the catalyst for similar business ventures, but in entirely different contexts, across our country. Medical Tourism is now ready to take off!
I salute this company after writing a four-part series of articles in the local press since 2000 titled “Looking at Ganja Positively”. One article dealt with the religious aspect of weed, another with the economic value of weed, yet another with the medical benefits of weed and the recreational value of ganja, including an education program public. So, 22 years later, although this launch is a positive gesture, I still advocate for the total legalization of weed, but with a public awareness program. There are still a lot of myths about ganja driving people crazy and this ‘bad blame’ on weed needs to be dispelled once and for all if possible, by people in the medical field who know the endocannabinoid system in the human body, and how the ganja plant can supplant any endocannabinoid deficiency.
So just like when you have a vitamin deficiency you take vitamin supplements, so when your body starts reacting to stress or the side effects of chemotherapy and you lose your appetite, feel depressed or suffer from pain, the good compounds in the marijuana plant help regulate these feelings and cravings. As a new controlled industry and because health is at stake, the highest quality must go into the production of plants, to ensure that “patients” receive a product of superior quality and efficacy.
Let’s go back to the launch of our “Top end Coffee shop”. Senior Cannabis Authority brass, including Dr Jerrol Thompson and Dr Jean Cummings, were seen mingling with the crowd as the Agriculture Minister was interviewed by IWN. The Minister of Finance was also present and arrived around the time I was leaving. So I don’t know if he made any public announcements. Greenhouse Café manager Tessa Glass was very accommodating after being introduced to her by Dr Francois Truchot.
There were three doctors on hand to listen to the medical needs of their patients by making a record of their conditions as standard procedure. Once a prescription was written, the next step was to have your ID produced, allowing carriers to have 5 grams of medical cannabis without any involvement from law enforcement. The IDs were produced on the spot and within five minutes the “patients” received their own IDs and are therefore now qualified to purchase cannabis products from any pharmacy/ state-licensed seller.
Although this historic occasion is hailed as progressive, I still advocate for the full decriminalization of weed. There are still people in jail for ganja, these charges need to be dropped, the law dropped and ‘ganja only’ prisoners released. And as I wrote less than two years ago, medical cannabis must also be provided to guards and inmates. Prison is hell on earth, where stress levels can reach roof-high on a daily basis. The herb will help the majority who use it and don’t abuse it.
In closing, I must say that the atmosphere of the Green House Café is very pleasant, aesthetic and airy, thanks to Janqui Glass and acolytes. Each person who obtained an ID received a take-out bag which included a locally made coconut shell ashtray, cutting tray, pack of RAW smoking paper, but NO weed nuggets to report the start of a business that will literally go up like smoke. And finally on a much lighter note, maybe I left too soon, but I was expecting to savor the delicious terpenes of the locally produced weed,… maybe when a tasting party is organised, I will be invited.
Contributed by: Donald De Riggs.