History was made on Monday 14th June 2021, as the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, through the Medicinal Cannabis Authority (the “MCA” or “Authority”), issued the first official licence for the production of Medical Cannabis.
The Authority is a statutory body created to regulate and issue licenses for the cultivation, manufacture, processing, extraction, import, export, testing, research, distribution, and sale of medicinal cannabis goods.
The first licence was issued to Grow Antigua, a local trifold company that can boast of being the first of its kind in the Cannabis Industry.
GROW (Antigua & Barbuda) Limited is an Antiguan & Barbudan registered vertically integrated ‘seed to sale’ Medical Cannabis Company. The company is a public/private hybrid operation that includes the government, Rastafari communities, and private enterprise as central Stakeholders.
The three entities comprising Grow Antigua are, Itopia Life (Antigua) Ltd, Rastafari Food For Life Ltd, and National Asset Management Company (NAMCO).
Itopia Life is a respected team of Antiguan & International professionals, with modern growing practices, world-class medical genetics, and years of experience with global standing in the Medicinal Cannabis industry. The Nyabinghi Theocracy Church Haile Selassie I Big Creek in conjunction with the Rasfreeman Foundation for the Unification of Rastafari Inc. group has joined together in unity to form the Rastafari Food For Life Ltd, while the people of Antigua & Barbuda will be represented by the country’s National Asset Management Company (NAMCO).
In offering salutations during the historic handing over ceremony, Director of GROW Antigua, Andrew Moody-Stuart said, “Today’s ceremony represents one of the most significant pivots in the cannabis industry. For the first time, a government will partner with a religious community and a private company for cannabis production that will help centralize public health outcomes, while also fostering innovation and quality. We are at the beginning of what we hope will be a remarkable journey for all of us and this little country of ours. We are aiming high and have all the ingredients to put GROW Antigua & Barbuda on the world’s Medical Cannabis stage.”
According to Ambassador Daven Joseph, Chair of the MCA, “The Cannabis Authority is pleased that Grow Antigua was able to meet the critical requirements that will enable this company to conduct a viable medicinal Cannabis business in accordance with national law and public policy. The medicinal cannabis industry is expected to contribute significantly to our post Covid-19 economic diversification program and this is just the beginning of the government’s effort to meaningfully develop this industry.”
Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne, Hon. Samantha Marshall, Minister of
Agriculture (NAMCO Member), RFFL, Ras Osagyfu, Glasford F Mack, and Hon. Steadroy Benjamin, Attorney General gave brief remarks during the handing over ceremony.