Israeli experts for cannabis meeting in Jamaica

Israeli experts for cannabis meeting in Jamaica

Balford Henry

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

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TWO high-level medical cannabis leaders from Israel are to speak at the Jamaica Cannabis Conference, scheduled for Thursday, May 22 to Saturday, May 24, at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona.

They are Dr Michael Dor, chief medical advisor to the Israeli Ministry of Health Medical Cannabis Unit and a former deputy director of the Ministry of Health Medical Administration in charge of its Community Medicine and Hospitals Division; and Dr Lumir Hanus, a research fellow in medicinal chemistry and natural products at Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a respected authority in medical cannabis.

They will speak at the Friday session between 10 am and 5 pm, at the Faculty of Law Seminar Room at the university.

Both are being sponsored by Strains of Hope, a non-profit organisation whose mission is to support research with leading institutions around the world examining the benefits of medical cannabis therapies in a multitude of disease states, including diabetes, pain management and epilepsy.

Several other speakers from Jamaica, the United States and Canada will also participate in the three-day Inaugural Jamaica Cannabis Conference.

"It is an honour to have two medical cannabis research leaders from the medical cannabis research hub of the world, Israel," director of the Cannabis Commercial and Medicinal Research Task Force, Delano Seiveright, told the Jamaica Observer, yesterday.

"We are eager to hear their insights and ideas for Jamaica. Jamaica, frankly, has an opportunity, over time, to position itself as the medical cannabis research capital of the world, given climatology, geography, brand, language, and other strong advantages," said Seiveright.

The conference is being organised and sponsored by the Cannabis Commercial and Medicinal Research Task Force and the University of the West Indies, under the theme, 'Wake Up Jamaica, Our Opportunities are Slipping Away'.

The Government, Seiveright said, has sent very positive signals on decriminalising the use of ganja so far. However, he said there is a need to move forward, expeditiously.

He said the main outcome from the conference will be a position paper and a declaration, setting out a road map and a recommended timeframe for the decriminalisation of ganja, including its use for the sacramental rights of Rastafarians, as well as its wider medicinal uses. The framework for a regulated commercial industry is also expected to emanate from the conference, after which increased and sustained public education and advocacy will follow, according to Seiveright.

The Cannabis Commercial and Medicinal Research Task Force is an umbrella group launched in September 2013. It is chaired by Professor Archibald McDonald, principal of the UWI, Mona.

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