Shaw tours Trelawny facility after first shipment of CBD oilWednesday, December 23, 2020
CLARK'S TOWN, Trelawny — Six hundred and thirty-five acres of farmland, one export of organic cannabidiol (CBD) oil, and a US$4-million investment boost from Delta Capital Partners prompted Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Audley Shaw and his state minister Dr Norman Dunn to tour the Organic Growth Holdings (OGH) facilities recently.
Located in Clark's Town, Trelawny, the facility has expanded significantly since its ground-breaking in December 2019.
In fact, Shaw expressed his awe at the development, and said there are many idle lands in existence that need to be similarly developed.
“As I drive here today, coming from Montego Bay, [St James], a tired fi see idle land. We have too much idle lands in Jamaica, and guess what we have when we have idle lands? We have idle hands. Idle lands and idle hands is a blueprint for perpetual poverty, and we can no longer afford that,” Shaw said.
The minister congratulated OGH for its success, and also said that the CBD industry is one he knows can significantly impact the local economy.
“I also want to stress that this is considerably significant because, over the past year, we have been importing CBD oil into Jamaica. Now is the first time we are producing CBD oil from hemp at a commercial level at a worldwide standard — not only for export, but [it will] also be available locally, produced right here in Jamaica...My ministry and the Cannabis Licensing Authority, which is under my management, and all the other agencies we have to interact with...we are here to work with you because we want the hemp industry to be a major part of the alternative industries for this area in Jamaica,” Shaw said.
Dr Dunn echoed Shaw's argument, adding that Brand Jamaica already has a positive impact.
“Jamaica has a brand that can be leveraged anywhere in the world. It also is a tremendous opportunity to continue to leverage that brand to ensure that the OGH is a success. The cannabis and the hemp industry is a priority. Under [the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce], it is something that we are giving a lot of attention, and I know internationally there have been some good news recently,” he said.
Dunn said the ministry is also looking to capitalise on a prospective amendment in United States law which will facilitate less scrutiny of earnings from the cannabis industry.
“With the election of the president-elect and vice president-elect of the United States, looking at the Safe Banking Act...we continue to believe that, notwithstanding the challenges now with the third-party banking and the institutions, that, in very short order, we [will] have positive news coming out of the United States federal system — and we want to ensure that Jamaica is at the forefront to take advantage of that.
“We are on a drive to keep modernising and keep adjusting this new industry,” he added. “Some persons may say we have been slow in the trek but we have to [be] cautious in what we do because [of] the legacy of this particular product in Jamaica and how persons have always viewed Jamaica over the years.”
The state minister insisted that everything must be done correctly and be able to stand up to scrutiny anywhere in the world.
“I believe that Jamaica has one of the most tremendous opportunities to grow a product here that has been popularised by the Rastafarians for years, and who have been victimised for years but they have carried the torch, and we believe that we can make that torch into a real burning flame for Jamaica,” he emphasised.
The recent tour of the facility, which consists of several greenhouses and a processing plant, was given by Robert Weinstein, president of OGH.
OGH gets its seeds from the United States, however, the processing is done in Jamaica by almost 50 employees who are from Clark's Town and nearby Jackson Town.
The president shared that he intends to continue contributing to boosting the agricultural sector, and is happy that tourists will now have access to locally made CBD oil.
“Up until now there have not been any Jamaica-branded CBD products, so when tourism reopens on the island again and you have Canadians, Americans, Australians, or wherever they're coming from, and they want to take back Jamaican products with them, they can't take back Jamaican ganja products but they can take back CBD products. And, up till now, the only products they are taking back with them have been from Colorado or the Czech Republic, nothing grown in Jamaica, so we are honoured to be the first company to develop the CBD oil that will enable Jamaica's brand to be out there into the world, and really a reason to get agriculture in Jamaica upon a pedestal in line with Jamaica's Vision 2030,” said Weinstein.