Seeing Through The Weeds: Navigating The Medicinal Cannabis Industry In Barbados

01 October 2020


The Medicinal Cannabis Industry has experienced significant growth globally propelled by a number of factors including legislative enactments to facilitate the decriminalisation of consumption and create frameworks for industries leveraging cannabis plant derivatives for therapeutic purposes. This confluence of scientific, social and economic interests has catalysed the enactment of these laws in Barbados. As a result, the Medicinal Cannabis Industry Act, 2019-44  was proclaimed on 30 September 2020 and the Medicinal Cannabis Industry Regulations, 2020 were implemented which provide a legal and regulatory framework for the development of the medicinal cannabis industry in Barbados. 

What is Medicinal Cannabis?

Medicinal Cannabis is defined as “cannabis; seeds, immature plants as well as all parts of the plant, along with resin extracted from any part of the plant; every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture or preparation from cannabis; or cannabis concentrate that is cultivated, processed, manufactured, distributed, sold, tested, or analysed under a license”. This legislation envisages:

  • the use of “medicinal cannabis” for medicinal purposes as prescribed by a medical practitioner; and
  • the cultivation, transportation, processing, selling, importing, exporting, researching and development of medicinal cannabis and medicinal cannabis products under a regulated licensing regime.

Tiers and Types of Licenses 

There are a variety of licences which the Authority can issue and a person who wishes to obtain a licence to operate in the medicinal cannabis industry may apply to the Authority for any of the following licences:

  • a Cultivator Licence (for which there are different tiers) - to permit the growing, harvesting, drying, trimming, curing or packaging of medicinal cannabis;
  • a Research and Development Licence - to permit tthe conduct of scientific research for the purpose of improving or further developing cannabis for medical, therapeutic or scientific purposes;
  • a Laboratory Licence – to permit the conduct of testing and analytical services associated with improving or further developing medicinal cannabis;
  • a Processor Licence – to permit the processing and manufacturing of cannabis material and medical cannabis products;
  • a Retail Distributor Licence – to permit the operation of a therapeutic facility;
  • an Import Licence – to permit the importation of medicinal cannabis products and planting material from any country where it is legal so to do;
  • an Export Licence – to permit the exportation of medicinal cannabis or medicinal cannabis products to any country in keeping with the laws of any such country; and
  • a Transport Licence – to permit the transport of medicinal cannabis. 


A company that meets the specified requirements may apply for any licence mentioned above.  An application for a licence is required to be accompanied by the prescribed fee  and a certificate from a medical practitioner that states (i) in the case of an individual, that the individual is not dependent on a controlled drug; or (ii) in the case of a partnership, that a member is not dependent on a controlled drug.

The Minister may impose conditions in respect of the issuance of the licences. A licence is valid for a period of 5 years and a person who holds a licence may not later than 3 months before the expiration of the licence, re-apply for the issue of a new licence.

We at FT Legal would be happy to assist you if you need assistance or advice with setting up a medicinal cannabis entrepreneurial venture in Barbados.

For further information please contact your usual contact at FT Legal or contact us at