President of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) Howard Mitchell has cautioned both the Government and the private sector against corrupting or polluting the country’s indigenous ganja strains.

Mitchell, who was delivering the keynote address at the media launch of CanEx Jamaica Business Conference and Expo at the Spanish Court Hotel in Kingston on Wednesday, urged caution in relation to how the local weed is treated. “In that context, I want to caution that we avoid the mistakes of the past. Let us not do with ganja what we did with coffee,” urged Mitchell.

“Let us not allow the strains to be corrupted to please one, albeit wealthy, part of the market. Let us have a clear idea of what it is we produce, what belongs to us, what is propriety to us and don’t let anybody come and take it away. Let us make sure that it is not polluted. We can do it.”

Mitchell contended that locally produced ganja was as uniquely Jamaican as our music, which has played a pivotal role in spreading Jamaica’s name globally.

“In dealing with such a precious part of our indigenous factory resources, which is what marijuana is, it is like the creative power of our people; it is like our music, it belongs to us,” said Mitchell. “It’s not something that we import from somewhere and put on a brand and call it Jamaica. This is our product from scratch, so it needs to remain that way, and it will fulfill the brand if it remains that way.”

The CanEx Jamaica Business Conference and Expo is a business-to-business conference and expo that brings together cannabis industry professionals from more than 30 countries across North America, the Caribbean, Europe, South and Central America, and Africa to discuss the latest advances in the medicinal, health/wellness, legal, regulatory, business, and investment landscapes.

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox, a prominent advocate for legalising marijuana, will again be among the high-profile guests in Jamaica for the September 26-28 conference which will be held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James.

The conference will feature more than 80 speakers, to include Dr Julius Garvey, the son of National Hero Marcus Garvey. The speakers will be addressing issues related to the legal cannabis industry such as banking and finance, the business of cannabis advocacy, cannabis cultivation, technology, science, and medicine.