When the Virgin Islands House of Assembly (HoA) passed the Medicinal Cannabis Licensing Act 2020 into law, Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) made it clear that the bill was only for the medicinal use of marijuana and its local cultivation.
He said the bill is neither an excuse nor a licence for people to ‘smoke anywhere’, however, according to Ms Justine Callwood, the daughter of Philiciano O. Callwood aka 'Foxy', the territory may have short-changed itself with that decision.
Tourism & Cannabis
She said with the bill, there is now an opportunity to start an entirely new industry based on cannabis tourism where persons would visit the VI to consume marijuana as part of their adventure on the islands.
“Can we do this? We can but maybe we wouldn’t get a chance. The bill as written doesn’t allow for such an integration there is the provision created for the authority that may allow it to do so,” she said.
Ms Callwood was at the time Speaking on July 9, 2019, as guest presenter of the Rotary Club of Tortola on the topic, where her presentation was made public via their Zoom meeting and online via the local production entity JTV.
She said that even as a product, medicinal marijuana has its challenges to generate the kind of revenues the government is forecasting, "however, with no doubt, weed is trending. It has become incorporated in tourism on a few different levels. What we are seeing is that tourist truly enjoy having something to do,” Mr Callwood said as part of her arguments for authorities to explore the idea.
Cooking with Cannabis
Listing the range of products that could be derived from marijuana other than its medical values, Callwood pointed out building products, clothing, textile, salt, rope, hemp brick, hemp paint, cosmetics.
“How sustainable could we make ourselves as a community if we can incorporate these ideas?” she questioned.
Ms Callwood, whose father owns the popular Foxy's Tamarind Bar and restaurant further alluded to the use of cannabis in food, which she said can be a big plus as it will be attractive to tourists looking for a new culinary experience.
“Should we approach this, these ideas are incredibly beneficial in terms of people’s desire to visit as a result of being a very unique thing!” she said.