Epican supplying local doctors with medical cannabis

Business

Epican supplying local doctors with medical cannabis

BY KARENA BENNETT
Business reporter
bennettk@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, July 22, 2018

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Cannabis grower Epican has already secured its place as supplier of medical cannabis to a number of local doctors seeking therapeutic treatment for patients, but needed a facility to professionally offer its products and services to the public.

Last week the first seed-to-sale cannabis retail store opened its doors at Marketplace in Kingston, allowing for more than 300 cannabis enthusiasts to engage brothers, Dwayne and Karibe McKenzie, who pushed to have first-mover advantage on what is expected to be the beginning of a new era for the use of medical marijuana in Jamaica.

Karibe McKenzie, in a conversation with the Jamaica Observer, said the company was strategic in ensuring that its location was a central point in Kingston. The facility, which deals primarily in retail trade of medical marijuana, also wants to capitalise on therapeutic treatment of clients and as such has included a VIP lounge for clients seeking the service.

“We have a VIP menu that they get to choose from and the products are taken to them upstairs where they can consume,” he said.

Located on Constant Spring Road in Kingston, Epican's cannabis store and café employs 20 individuals in the posts of cashiers, receptionist, bud tenders, VIP lounge hostesses and marketing officers.

“The VIP lounge hostesses will escort the VIP members to the lounge and get the products that they want so that they don't have to be on the floor selecting products themselves. There are various therapeutic instruments for the delivery system so the hostesses will also operate these instruments for our members,” McKenzie told Sunday Finance.

Epican spans 5,000 square feet. In addition to the retail store and VIP lounge area, Epican also has on location an extraction plant for withdrawal of its oils.

McKenzie, while declining to disclose investment numbers, noted that Epican has been approached by companies seeking collaboration. The store opening occurred just days before pre-clinical research and development company Scythian Biosciences Corp, which owns licenses and other assets held through subsidiaries in Argentina, Colombia and Jamaica, was acquired by Canada-based medical cannabis company Aphria Inc.

Aphria Inc is now preparing to expand its business to Jamaica among several other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, through Scythian ownership of Marigold Acquisitions Inc, a company that holds a 49 per cent interest in Marigold Projects Jamaica.

Marigold Projects Jamaica holds five conditional cannabis licences from the Jamaican Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) related to cultivation, processing, selling, therapeutic or spa services, and research and development activities. The company is also working with the University of West Indies to develop and test products derived from high cannabidiol cannabis sativa strains to establish its efficacy in treating diabetes, hypertension, pain, and other ailments.

In May, Marigold Projects Jamaica signed an exclusive sponsorship agreement with the Peter Tosh Museum in Kingston to become the exclusive cannabis dispensary partner of the museum.

The company is set to establish its first medicinal cannabis dispensary and herb house at the Peter Tosh Square at the Pulse Centre in New Kingston, from which Aphria is expected to benefit from its indirect ownership in the company. The opening of the herb house remains subject to CLA approval.

“This is a new industry in Jamaica and any company that is a part of this industry and is committed to doing things the right way and providing for patients clear and pure products, we don't view them as competition so to speak. We do support anyone coming into the industry and doing things the right way,” McKenzie said.

“We didn't rush to open our doors because based on our experience and knowing how the industry is, it's not an industry that you jump into when you have no infrastructure to support what you're putting out. So now that we have opened our doors everyone can be very confident that anything that we have put out, we are more than capable of keeping up with demand,” he said.


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