You need to test local marijuana?
Beginning this Friday, Invest SVG will accept written requests from individuals and businesses who have interest in testing local strains of marijuana to determine their drug profiles.
This is the word from Minister of Agriculture and Industry Saboto Caesar, who told SEARCHLIGHT on Monday that Invest SVG, on receiving the written requests, will guide the interested parties on the next steps.
The Minister said that after the request is reviewed, an order will be done and the commodities for testing will be provided to the tester. The St Vincent and the Grenadines Bureau of Standards will supervise the testing process.
The order comes under the local Drug Act, which allows marijuana testing for scientific or research purposes.
âAnybody, whether local, regional or international, can submit in writing to the Invest SVG,â said Caesar.
According to leafly.com, marijuana testing is the scientific process of measuring different chemicals and compounds in the product. The testing can measure beneficial constituents like cannabinoids and terpenes, or not-so-desirable contaminants, such as pesticides, mould, and residual solvents.
The first official tests to be carried out on locally grown marijuana took place last Thursday and revealed that the herb, which is still illegal here, is high in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), while it also possesses satisfactory amounts of cannabidiol (CBD).
The tests, streamed Live on Facebook by SEARCHLIGHT, were conducted by Frederick Nesbitt lll, an internationally renowned chef, who infuses marijuana into his cooking. â
After the broadcast, some people took to social media, stating that the tests were conducted by a chef and not a qualified scientist. Some accused the government of duping people.
Nesbitt, a graduate of the Santiago State University, is also certified by the University, of Vermont Department of Pharmacology in cannabis science and medicine (the first and only post PhD medical programme in cannabis in the USA). He was accepted into the post PHD programme because of his 27 years of experience in medical cannabis. Nesbitt has been involved in the treatment of HIV, cancer and physical ailments with cannabis use and has a culinary art degree from the California Culinary Academy. Nesbit incorporates his knowledge of cannabis into cooking for high profile athletes and actors.
âThere is always a room to have fun with serious matters,â said Caesar, commenting on the social media criticisms.
âThe tests that were done last week were not commissioned by the government, nor did the government pay to have the tests done. A potential international investor applied and was given the go ahead and that investor brought in Fred Nesbitt III, who has worked for them for years and has 27 years of experience,â explained Caesar.
He added, âThey must know something about this man; why they would use him and his expertise to advise them as to whether or not they had the requisite properties in the commodity for them to invest?â
The Minister said he welcomes the scrutiny, because in light of potential growth from such a massive industry, people will have a lot to say.
âSome persons would not be as informed on the issue as others, but I donât see it as mischief making. The issue is so big and any how you are going to do something very big, man going to sing song on it, man going write poem, man going be on the block talking, because the imagination is fully occupied; so I not vex with a man who say the man is a chef and go on Facebook.â
âThe man was featured on National Geographic. An ordinary chef doesnât get featured on National Geographic. What this guyâs main business is, is that he has created a very high-end niche market where he does cannabis infused food.â
Caesar said the Government was involved in the testing, because it had to be done under the supervision of the Bureau of Standards.
He added also that some people had claimed that the weed that was tested had been in storage or had been brought from overseas, but that is not the case, as the marijuana was brought fresh from the mountains of St Vincent.
Caesar also revealed that already, five other companies have sought permission to test the local strains of marijuana.
âIf a man is interested in selling buds, his test will be different than if a man wants to infuse food; it will be different if a man will be doing oil. In fact, Fred Nesbitt will return to SVG in two weeks, I was advised by the company he works for, to do testing for the company on the oil content,â said Caesar, who is encouraging persons to get involved.
Last weekâs testing, which took place at the conference room of the Fisheries Department, revealed an average of 20.7 per cent THC content in the eight samples. According to Nesbitt, anything over 20 per cent THC is ideal for medicinal marijuana purposes. The average CBD content was 1.07.
One of the tests conducted on a sample of the marijuana from the Larakai mountains came back with over 25 per cent THC and Nesbitt said this is extraordinary, as the highest THC content he has ever seen is 35 per cent and that was grown in a highly controlled environment. That sample had a CBD content of 1.08.