Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Medicinal Cannabis Licensing Authority, Dr. Shantal Munro-Knight. (BMCLA)

The medicinal cannabis industry is open to participation from everyone, and the constant dialoguing with service providers is to ensure this becomes a reality.

This was shared today by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Barbados Medicinal Cannabis Licensing Authority (BMCLA), Dr. Shantal Munro-Knight, as she addressed the opening of a service providers’ forum for security firms/businesses, on the Zoom platform.

Providing the rationale for the BAJCAN Connect Forum: Securing the Industry, Dr. Munro-Knight noted it aimed to bring attention to the fact that the industry had a wider value chain and opportunities for different kinds of people, agencies and organisations to participate at critical levels.

“This is something that we are now starting, in terms of engaging the security industry, particularly, and we started here with you because of the important role that you would have in terms of building out the industry that we are trying to grow,” she told those gathered.

While pointing out that licensees would call for some level of security, she said without security personnel or firms, there would be a weakness in the cannabis industry. 

Further noting that the industry was much broader and more than about licensees, she stressed it was also about participation by those “not necessarily wanting to touch the plant”.

Urging security providers to engage the BMCLA and to relate their experiences in the industry, even after the forum, the CEO said: “Because we are dealing with a partnership, it means therefore that we intend to have constant dialogue.  It means therefore that we are open to questions; open to change; it means … that we are also about being flexible and learning, and that is critical for us as an authority.”

Dr. Munro-Knight acknowledged that success for the industry would come when BMCLA sees Barbadian firms participating and licensees supported by all of the other critical business areas that need to be in play for the industry to function and expand.

Adding that it was also about innovation happening across myriad processes, she expressed the hope that security providers would also inform the Authority about their own innovations that could help Barbados’ medicinal cannabis industry set itself apart from others.

Meanwhile, Chief of Security with BMCLA, Edwin O’Neal, in outlining the regulatory framework for security guidelines, said it was important in the business of medicinal cannabis that there be an awareness of the importance of risk assessment and mitigation, and an ongoing security programme.

Emphasising that before a licence is granted, there should be security barrier measures in place, he said these would include physical security features, such as perimeter fencing gates, roofs, and interior walls, and technological security features, like visual recording systems and intrusion alarms, electronic access systems, lighting, emergency power and cybersecurity measures.

Mr. O’Neal also suggested that given the nature of the medicinal business there must be procedural security measures, with the capacity to measure, even when off-site. 

For those in smaller businesses, relying on personnel, the security chief said there must be certified regular authentic training for them in the standard operating procedures.

“This industry cannot allow what happens in other areas, where persons just put on a uniform and that satisfies human security. One has got to be prepared to invest in training and retraining,” he maintained.

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