Shaw to push for marijuana low in THC

Observer writer

Thursday, January 31, 2019

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ROSE HALL, St James — Minister of Industry Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Audley Shaw says he will be perusing the production of medicinal marijuana low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and high in cannabidiol (CBD) that conforms to the laws of the United States of America as a means of overcoming the contentious hurdle of de-risking.

De-risking refers to financial institutions closing the accounts of clients perceived as high risk for money laundering or terrorist financing abuse, namely money service businesses, non-profit organisations, correspondent banks, and foreign embassies.

Shaw was speaking with reporters in St James on Tuesday shortly before his departure for the British Virgin Islands (BVI) where he will be participating in a two-day conference put on by businessman Sir Richard Branson that will see people involved in the industry coming together. Shaw said he will be perusing this and other matters relating to the marijuana industry at the BVI conference.

“Let's start making medicinal marijuana that is low in THC and high in CBD which has the medicinal value and conforms to the law in the United States that will open up our banking arrangements. So, for me that is a live one. And, I will be perusing it among other things when I go to this conference,” Shaw said

Shaw argued that products such as those manufactured by Jamaican scientist Dr Henry Lowe, who produces marijuana-based anti-cancer drugs, could very well fall within that range.

The minister told the media that shortly after Dr Lowe received approval for cannabis-based drugs to treat a particular strain of leukemia, his account was closed by the bank, which cited falling afoul of corresponding relationship with the Government of the United States as the reason for doing so.

“[But] there is some light at the end of the tunnel. I see where a new law has been passed in the United States that approves a type of hemp, which is a kind of cannabis high in CBD and low in the THC (toxic) level. That may very well become a point of departure for us [and] to start there. In other words, Dr Lowe's product could very well be within that range where the bill has been passed in the United States. And, if it is within that range, then we have to go right now to apply to regularise the banking relationships and other areas of the medicinal marijuana industry which we are targeting will be low in THC, as low as point zero three per cent THC, which is what the law allows in the United States. So, we can start there,” said an optimistic Shaw.

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