Sunday, September 09, 2018

Tropical storm Isaac

Isaac again

Last update 13 sept 2018 11.00: At 11.00 the center of Isaac was located at 14.9N 61.8W which is between Dominica and Martinique. Isaac is now a weak tropical storm with winds of 45 knots. However, the rain bands behind it will affect the island chain throughout the day today, mostly right behind and to the North of the storm, but even the Windward Islands could get some.
In Bequia the wind has already shifted to a Southerly direction and it is partly sunny.

Update 12 sept 2018 11.15: Isaac has weakened a little more, and is now at 15N 54.7W.  A hurricane hunter plane has just been investigating the storm and found winds of 50 knots. So Isaac is now expected to pass through the island chain as a "normal" tropical storm. This will still mean significant amounts of rain at the former center of the storm, and even here in the Grenadines we might get some rain as Isaac is falling apart.

Update 11 sept 2018 12.00: Isaac is now a strong tropical storm at 14.6N 49.7W. There still is a high level of uncertainty as to Isaac's intensity when it passes through the island chain. This is why there is a hurricane watch for Martinique, Dominica and Guadeloupe.

Update 10 sept 2018: Surprisingly Isaac did not strengthen and is still a minor tiny hurricane. As of 5 pm he was located at 14.4N 45W. To give you an idea about how tiny he is: hurricane force winds of 64 knots or greater extend only 10 miles from the North of the center. Tropical storm force winds of 34 knots or greater only have a maximum radius of 40 nautical miles.

Update 10 sept 2018: As expected Isaac has strengthened into a minor hurricane and is continuing on its westward track. Isaac is a tiny hurricane which means that fluctuations in strength can be rapid and significant. For that reason there is a high level of uncertainty in the forecasts as to at which intensity it will pass through the island chain. My favorite computer model has it as a minor storm, but the National Hurricane center has it as a minor hurricane.
Consensus is very general now that it will pass somewhere North of Martinique, with Antigua getting the strongest winds..
For us here in Bequia that will most probably mean no wind at all on Wednesday before Isaac, and a nice breeze after he has passed through the island chain.

Track of Isaac 2012
In 2012 I wrote a post about a storm named Isaac that in a way affected Bequia. At this moment there is a next storm named Isaac to our East.

This Isaac, since coming off the coast off Africa as a tropical wave, then depression #9 is currently intensifying and may even become a hurricane soon.
The forecast track of Isaac 9-9-2018

This Isaac is so far following a very similar track as his namesake in 2012, and is forecast to pass through the island chain next week.

Where and at what intensity?
The official forecast has it passing through a minor hurricane/strong storm, the numerous "amateur" marine forecasters I follow and which are usually right have it passing through  as a minor storm/depression.

I'll keep updating this post as new information becomes available, stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Marijuana legalization in St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Marijuana legalization

It may finally be happening, the legalization of marijuana for medical and religious purposes in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

3 draft bills have been prepared, these will be debated in Parliament tomorrow, Thursday the 6th of September.
The first bill is an Amnesty Bill, giving farmers a chance to apply for a certificate of amnesty  while surrendering any harvest they may have at that time to the government. This amnesty period is supposed to have started already, and last well into 2019, but that was under the assumption that these bills would have been passed.
The second bill is the Medicinal Cannabis Industry Bill. This aims to legalize marijuana used for medical purposes. This is a very broad spectrum and includes: (a) pain associated with cancer;
(b) severe and treatment resistant nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy;
(c) status of human immunodeficiency virus or acquired immune deficiency
(d) Parkinson’s disease;
(e) multiple sclerosis;
(f) severe intractable epilepsy;
(g) damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological
indication of intractable spasticity;
(h) post-traumatic stress disorder;
(i) rheumatoid arthritis or any similar chronic autoimmune
inflammatory disorder with severe or debilitating conditions;
(j) autism;
(k) glaucoma;
(l) sickle cell anaemia;
(m) anxiety;
(n) sleep disorders;
(o) chronic pain;
(p) Alzheimer’s disease;
(q) Crohn’s disease;
(r) Hepatitis B;
(s) Dravett’s syndrome; and
(t) any other illness or condition declared by the Minister, acting on the
advice of the Council, by order published in the Gazette, to be a qualifying
medical condition;

What this means for the farmer: Once the farmer has the above certificate he or she can apply for a traditional cultivation license. With that it will be legal to grow, harvest, dry, trim, and package marijuana for medical purposes.

To make this economically as feasible an undertaking as it is now the marijuana farmer will need a purchaser of the product in bulk. And this is where in my opinion the glitch is, as this will involve big money. Medical marijuana is already a booming business and growing for big pharmaceutical companies. Chances are that they will simply take over the entire medical marijuana industry in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines with no or only slight benefits to Vincentians.
This same bill covers a whole lot of other licenses: Types of licences.
(a) a cultivation licence, which shall be issued to allow for the growing, harvesting, drying,
trimming, curing or packaging of medicinal cannabis;
(b) a research licence, which shall be issued to allow for the conduct of scientific
research relating to the development of medicinal cannabis;
(c) a manufacturer licence, which shall be issued to allow for activities relating to the
processing and manufacturing of cannabis material and medicinal cannabis products,
including but not limited to, edibles and other derivatives;
(d) a dispensing licence, which shall be issued to allow for the dispensing of
medicinal cannabis to patients;
(e) an import licence, which shall be issued to allow for the importation of
medicinal cannabis products and planting material from any country where it is
legal so to do;
(f) an export licence, which shall be issued to allow for the exportation of
medicinal cannabis to any country in keeping with the laws of any such country;
(g) a transport licence, which shall be issued to allow for the transport of medicinal
cannabis; and
(h) a traditional cultivator’s licence, which shall be issued solely to citizen of Saint
Vincent and the Grenadines, to grow, harvest, dry, trim, cure or package

The third act is the Permitted use of Cannabis for religious purposes bill, which simply permits rastafarians for example to use marijuana at their churches/ceremonies or events.

Comments on these Bills are still invited, you can send them to:
Hon. Attorney General
    Ministry of Legal Affairs
    Methodist Church Building
    Tel: 1 784 457-2586

You can view the bills in full here: