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(JAMAICA OBSERVER) – Amidst increasing calls for policymakers to accelerate efforts to establish Jamaica’s medicinal cannabis and hemp industry, the first three companies that were issued licences to operate have taken a bold step forward.
Timeless Herbal Care, Epican, and Everything Oily Labs have forged an alliance which they hope will help move the industry forward and set an example for corporate Jamaica.
President of Timeless Herbal, Courtney Betty announced on Friday at a forum held at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel with various industry players, that the three entities have come together to form a new organisation – the Jamaica Association of Medical Marijuana Companies (JAMC).
JAMC will serve as a voice for the industry in helping to develop policy, regulations, standards, and codes of conduct, among other areas in the industry.
“We want to be an example. It’s not very often that you have three companies that have decided — even though we are competitors and we will be competitors — that we will work together in this industry… it’s just amazing the synchronicity of our vision, and so we have agreed that we are going to work together,” Betty said.
He asserted that the licencees have been entrusted with the responsibility of playing a leading role in guiding the development and advancement of this new industry.
Betty said that investors are anxious to get in on the local medical ganja industry. “What we are trying to do here in Jamaican is more than possible. Jamaica can be the medical marijuana hub for the world…there are companies in Israel (who) want to set up here, they want to carry out research and development, they want to develop products here that they can take to the international market,” Betty told the gathering representing growers, researchers, advocates, and the Rastafarian community.
He said that building any industry is a tough task but that this was especially so in an environment where a product is being moved from being illicit, to legal. He stressed that the industry will contribute to economic and social transformation, providing additional resources for small farmers, tourism, nutraceuticals, and professional industries.
Everything Oily Labs director, Rory Liu said he was anxious to work with other entities that are expected to receive licences. “More needs to be done (and) all of us need to come together to make this happen. We need to not forget that this is for the patients… there are persons out there who are in need of these medicines and therapies — people are out there dying and they cannot wait,” he said.
Maurice Ellis, who represented Epican, said the starting up of Jamaica’s medicinal ganja industry is of significant historic importance given the decades of struggle experienced, especially by the Rastafarian community over the legalisation of ganja.
Ammendments to the dangerous Drugs Act of 2015 decriminalised the possession of ganja up to two ounces, and gave way to the establishment of a ganja industry for medicinal, therapeutic, or scientific purposes, regulated by the Cannabis Licensing Authority.