Cannabis sector players express concern over granting of hemp licences

Regional

Cannabis sector players express concern over granting of hemp licences

BY HORACE HINES
Observer West reporter

Thursday, January 09, 2020

Print this page Email A Friend!


NEGRIL, Westmoreland — At least two experts in the cannabis sector have expressed disappointment over the Government's decision to give the greenlight to two companies to cultivate medical hemp in western Jamaica, citing the threat cross pollination poses to the indigenous ganja strains.

Recently Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Audley Shaw participated in ground-breaking ceremonies for two hemp farms — the Virtudes Company licensed US$1-million medicinal hemp farm project in the Big Woods section of Darliston, Westmoreland and the Organic Growth Holdings Medicinal Hemp Project in Long Pond, Trelawny.

Speaking during a session of one of the seminars at the Rastafari Rootzfest, held recently in Negril, former chairman of the Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) Dr Andre Gordon expressed his disappointment over the Government's decision to grant licences for hemp cultivation.

“I personally don't understand... I see two hemp farms are about to start operating [and] I would be lying if I told you that I am happy about it. I cannot understand the thinking behind it because it says we don't understand the science behind cross pollination,” expressed Dr Gordon, who is a consultant to the Governments of St Kitts and St Vincent & the Grenadines in the setting up of their cannabis industry.

Ras Iyah V, head of Rastafarian in Inity, promoters of Rootzfest, was equally concerned over the damage that cross pollination from the hemp farm in Westmoreland will pose to traditional ganja growers in and around the Darliston area.

“Internationally it is recommended that a hemp field must be as far as 20 to 25 miles from any ganja cultivation.

“The fact is that Darliston is the most densely ganja cultivated area, then it is obvious that these traditional farmers are at risk of getting their fields pollinated by the hemp field here,” Ras Iyah V argued.

But during the ground-breaking ceremony at the Virtudes Company farm, Shaw moved to allay the cross pollination fears.

“I want to make it absolutely clear that there is a difference between industrial hemp and medicinal hemp. A lot of mischief and misinformation is making its way around, and I want to make it absolutely clear that what we are encouraging in Jamaica through the Cannabis Licensing Authority is not industrial hemp. Industrial hemp is the type of hemp that comes in male and female form and that is the one that can be destructive to our ganja,” Shaw declared.

He noted that the CLA has established an up to 10-mile buffer zone between medicinal hemp farms and ganja farms.

“We are establishing also protocols that relate to a four-to 10- mile buffer between a medicinal hemp site and a formal ganja cultivation site,” he stressed.

“We will equally have frequent monitoring by our environment and monitoring officers of the Cannabis Licensing Authority to ensure compliance with the policy and the absence of male or hermaphrodite hemp plants. All hemp cultivated sites currently registered by the authority are part of a phased approach to allow for data collection, analysis and any potential negative impact on our ganja industry.”

Dr Gordon argued that back in 2015 when the CLA was established, it was then decided that the indigenous product should be protected from cross pollination.

“I can tell you that when we set up the CLA there was a requirement that you could not just import any cultivar, any strain, any chemovar for growth and sale here, because we have our own indigenous product that if you are not careful, cross pollution will completely wipe out a lot of those in a short while,” Dr Gordon said.


Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at http://bit.ly/epaperlive


ADVERTISEMENT




POST A COMMENT

HOUSE RULES

1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy



comments powered by Disqus
ADVERTISEMENT

Poll

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon
ADVERTISEMENT