Less hazy ganja outlook

Optimism over ganja's future in Jamaica

BY KARENA BENNETT
Business reporter
bennettk@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, September 09, 2018

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Two years after the successful staging of global business-to-business cannabis conference, CanEx Jamaica, event director for CanEx Jamaica, Douglas Gordon, is even more optimistic that the cannabis industry could be named amongst the main drivers of Jamaica's economic growth.

The business conference, which was previously held as a one-day event, will this year be staged over the period September 27 to 29 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre. Expected attendance for this year's event is 1,500 individuals and 120 exhibitors, more than double the 700 attendees and 30 exhibitors the conference saw last year.

Gordon, during the launch of the business conference and expo last Thursday, urged early stage cannabis industry players not to surrender to challenges and frustrations within the industry but to open their minds to high-level business networking and knowledge sharing in the medicinal, legal, business and investment landscapes.

“Two years ago I remember saying the ship had left us, the ship is definitely moving faster than we are moving but certainly there are real good opportunities for Jamaica. There are some niches we have to lock into, but if we support each other I believe we will see great products in Jamaica,” he told stakeholders.

“Yes we only have our third dispensary opened here in Jamaica – but by this time next year, we might have 20. For those people who are in the process, it can be challenging at times but I urge you to endure because what we are seeing when we look at the entire industry from an organisational perspective is progress. We now have folks asking us to facilitate groups of people coming from different countries, so things are happening,” he continued.

So far, CanEx has confirmed over 50 speakers including scientists, investors, business professionals and policymakers who will offer expansive perspectives on the growing industry. The speakers will travel from across the globe including Canada, the USA, Israel, Czech Republic, Colombia, Mexico, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Panama.

The conference, which is being held for the third year, will also feature keynote addresses from Montel Williams, TV talk show host and founder of Lenitiv Labs; Vicente Fox, former president of Mexico; and Bruce Linton, chairman and CEO of Canopy Growth Corporation.

What's more, local health and wellness distribution company, Zimmer and Co, will sponsor roughly 300 local ganja farmers, 200 of which will go to the Ganja Growers Association to attend the event. As title sponsors for the conference, Zimmer and Co will also be subsidising up to 50 additional tickets per day for additional farmers wishing to attend the event.

“We believe a vibrant legal cannabis industry offers great opportunity and should be accessible to Jamaicans at all levels. The idea for this company came out of attending CanEx in 2017, and when we were in discussions with the organisers to sponsor this year, we wanted to find a vehicle that would allow more Jamaicans to attend, network and participate,” CEO of Zimmer and Co, T'Shura Gibbs, said.

“We are fortunate that our investors and the CanEx organisers shared our vision and delighted that we could collaborate in this manner,” she continued.

The event allows for attendees to connect with exhibitors and sponsors as well as cultivators and investment firms.

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