MONTEGO BAY, St James - With Jamaica boasting a wide array of native medicinal plants, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Floyd Green is of the view that enough is not being done to capitalise on wellness tourism.
“We have not capitalised on wellness tourism. Jamaica has so many endemic plants that are good at so many different ailments that if we were to tie them to our tourism product and our tourism offerings then I think we would get more visitors who visit just for the concept of wellness,” Green told the Jamaica Observer West.
“I think we already have excellence in terms of the music for reggae as a backdrop to wellness...in terms of the environment, whether you're in the hills or on the coast.”
Green, who was speaking at the recently concluded two-day inaugural CanEx Psychedelics Summit, sponsored by Silo Wellness and Ridgetop Lighting at the Jewel Grande Montego Bay Resort and Spa, contended that wellness tourism should be marketed for the destination.
“What we now need to do is to market wellness destination quite frankly, and using work that has been done around things like tumeric, around things like Jamaican ginger, Jamaican tumeric, work that has already been done by people like Dr Henry Lowe and tie them into packages that people can come and experience,” Green said.
“Also, what is happening in relation to CBD, what is happening in relation to THC and cannabis, ganja, those things.
“So, in that vein I think also clearly what is happening across the work with psychedelics now also provides the opportunity for us to tie everything into a wellness framework where we attract visitors to Jamaica.”
Noting that First World nations are making use of plant research, Green argued that regional countries should follow suit.
“Jamaica is one country that has some of the most endemic plants with some of the highest value. I think all over the world other First World countries have gone further in their research, other First World countries have gone further in their product development from these species and I think now is the time for the countries across the region to take back that space,” he said.
“ I keep repeating Henry Lowe because he is a shining example or what can be achieved when you apply the research to our plant life here. So I want to take back that space, plus I do believe the wellness space is a space for us. For a long time a number of our people have been using these herbal concoctions to treat some of our ailments.”
Former chairman of the Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA), Dr Andre Gordon, underscored that Jamaica possess a number of plants that are rich in medicinal value that can be developed for commercial benefits.
“We are sitting on a gold mine with cannabis, we sitting on a gold mine with psylocibin mushroom, with turmeric, and a whole range of our natural products but this is not a theoretical thing you need to take what God has given us and make it practical for the benefit of the people,” Dr Gordon told the Observer West.
The inaugural CanEx Psychedelics Summit brought together psychedelics industry experts including Bruce Linton, chair of the Advisory Board of Red Light Holland Corporation, and chief executive officer of Cybin Corporation, Doug Drysdale, delivering virtual keynotes.
St Vincent and the Grenadine's Minister of Agriculture Sabato Caesar and Green also shared insight on the burgeoning psychedelics industry which is predicted to reach US$10.75 billion in value by 2027.
Other presenters included Dr Winston De La Haye, who delivered a presentation entitled 'Psychedelics, the New Frontier in Psychiatry'.
Douglas K Gordon, founder of Canex, was satisfied at the inaugural staging of the summit.
“We had people from different aspects of the industry come together, talked about the opportunity, talked about the challenges, the need for collaboration and a cohesive approach to doing this responsibly and this is what we wanted to achieve by bringing people here,” Gordon said.