Jamaica advancing its medicinal ganja industry

Jamaica is seeking to encourage greater investment into its medicinal ganja (cannabis) industry so as to take advantage of the growing international and visitor market for wellness.

Speaking in Negril at the recent opening of Doc’s Place Wellness Centre and Apollon Formularies, Floyd Green, Minister in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, said that he hopes to see more investors involved in research and the development of new strains that support the growth of the local industry.

“We want to encourage more investors to look at this end of the industry. We want to see more dispensaries. We want to see herb houses. But we need to make our international mark on research and development,” he told those attending the official opening of centre on 25 October. 

Green said that the growing global market for cannabis also offered Jamaica the opportunity to become a first-choice destination for travellers who want to use medical cannabis. “The fact that Jamaica is already a world-renowned hospitality and tourism destination is a guaranteed formula for a successful cannabis industry”, he said.

“We can create more facilities where patients, while being treated, experience the beauty of Jamaica with the most fitting climate, the best people, the best service and, of course, the best cannabis. That is our competitive advantage in the global space,” he observed.

The Agriculture Ministry’s data indicates that cannabis companies with industry-leading research and development teams are not only in the best position to advance their collective understanding of the many therapeutic uses of cannabis, but are also able to design and produce innovative cannabis products, which sets them apart from their competition.

Green said that country’s Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) would be acting to fast track the licence-approval process so that it in future it takes no longer than six months. He said that CLA had at 30 September, granted 47 licences. Twelve additional licences are expected to be approved shortly and 250 applications for conditional licences are awaiting finalisation.

Apollon Formularies Jamaica, which specialises in the legal production of medical cannabis-based pharmaceutical products, is facilitating the treatment of patients living on the island as well as international patients travelling to Jamaica, through a joint venture with Doc’s Place Wellness Centre.

Their health and wellness resort provide patients with medical cannabis treatment under the guidance of licensed physicians who specialise in cannabis-based pharmaceuticals in a professional, medical, legal environment. Apart from producing medically certified oils and cannabis extracts Apollon is developing community-based initiatives enabling traditional ganja farmers to move into the legal industry.

Separately, the Jamaican government is moving forwards with the development of advanced regulations and guidelines. Its Ministry of Industry recently received draft import and export regulations for cannabis for final review and discussion which will on enactment, will give the CLA statutory authority to handle requests for import and export of inflorescence/flower and extract/resin.

In addition, the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) is creating standards and guidelines to protect consumers and to support companies wishing to export. This will involve the eventual publication of a Jamaican Code of Practice for Processing and Handling of Medical Cannabis Products and a Standard Guide for Packaging and Labelling of Resin Cannabis Products.

Many Caribbean nations including St Vincent, Grenada, St Kitts and Antigua are also developing legislation and regulations and industries able to produce ganja for medical purposes, but Jamaica is the most advanced.

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