Local hemp line finding market but needs to importSaturday, November 01, 2014
BY STEVEN JACKSON Business reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
THE locally based Green Hills line of hemp products needs to import hundreds of pounds of hemp to fill its growing customer demand.
Green Hills Distributors started selling hemp seeds, hemp protein, hemp coffee and hemp flour earlier this year.
The company quickly found that Jamaica couldn't meet
its price and supply requirements despite being known as a herb-
"Hemp supplies in Jamaica are inconsistent and small," principal Ricardo Keith told the Sunday Finance in an interview at the Sovereign Centre in Kingston.
He added that Canandian investors are planning to produce large acreages of the plant in the island. This should result in the company
using local supplies by 2016, he reasoned.
The company plans to launch hemp cooking oil and hemp cereal by next month. Its hemp products are currently distributed at Heatlh and Nutrition in Sovereign which plans to open a second branch in Mandeville; and Life Essentials in Kingston and Portmore, St Catherine. There are also plans to enter supermarket distrubution.
"We are looking at supermarkets now and we should be in Brooklyn Supermarket [Twin Gates Kingston ] by the end of next week," he stated.
The company's sales are growing from a small base and the company plans to make its biggest order to date.
"We normally order 150 pounds and are now doubling that to 300 lbs. So we are telling the supplier to look
for us every three weeks now," he said.
Green Hills started selling the product in response to customer demand and "not a result of what we [saw] in the media."
Hemp, the masculine strain of the Cannabis plant, remains legal because it doesn't contain the illegal THC drug produced in the buds of the female ganja Cannabis.
"There is no THC content. We are not interested in THC that is illegal . What we are interested in is the medicinal and protein content," he stated, adding that it contains positive health benefits including fatty acids Omega 6 and Omega 9.
Keith recalled stalled efforts four years earlier to sell hemp seeds but the market didn't take to it.
"We imported them but the prices were high. So we had to go back to the drawing board and couldn't continue to carry it. So we found a different supplier," he recalled.
The business of cananbis quickly gained legitimacy amid its legalisation in the US states of Colorado and Washington. The Jamaica Government in summer drafted legislation to decriminalise small quantities of ganja, whilst also modifying the Dangerous Drugs Act, in order to set rules for the cultivation and use of medical ganja and industrial hemp.
"You have people in Jamaica who are very knowledgeable on the product but in terms of bringing it to the public and providing product, I think we are a major player in that area," he later said.
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