By Jamaican Observer


At the launch of the CanEx 2019 Business Conference held on Wednesday (September 4), Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Audley Shaw, spoke of the importance of Jamaica taking its rightful place in the industry and begin to aggressively pursue earnings from it.

“Jamaica retains a unique opportunity in this field, as minister, I have taken the time to be promoting it very aggressively. The industry is projected right now to be a US$150-million industry. The truth is we have a lot of things to do in a very short time,” he said.

“We cannot allow this train to leave Jamaica out because our uniqueness with this industry. With us having different strains available due to the climatic conditions of Jamaica, this makes us qualified to be at the pinnacle of this industry on a global basis,” the minister continued.

He deems the cannabis industry a fast-growing one, which is taking off at a time when there is a widespread opioid crisis taking place globally, thereby giving Jamaica the advantage.

“An estimated 50,000 and over people are dying annually in the US from opioid overuse and the medicinal marijuana has been seen to be an appropriate alternative to opioids,” he asserted.

Diane Edwards, president of the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), also spoke to the need for the country to take shape and fall in its rightful position “as we are poised to reap significant earnings”.

She noted that medical cannabis is still a disruptor in the consumer goods space.

“Today Cannabidiol (CBD)-dominated market will drastically change over the next decade and we have the opportunity to be at the forefront of it, we expect that cannabis, and CBD infused products and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-infused products are going to be like a lifestyle companion and a natural remedy,” she stated.

She argued that more and more we are seeing CBD-infused products take consumers by storm globally, in packaged food, beverages, beauty and personal care products and consumer health products.

“As the industry evolves understanding, the future and placing the appropriate bets will determine the ultimate winners in this expanding and dynamic space. We think this is an industry of the future, the whole areas of nutraceutical, development of new products is really a competitive advantage that Jamaica has and that we have not exploited enough,” she added.

In agreeing with Shaw, Edwards also indicated that though the country stands in a good position to benefit “it could be better if we address the urgent and critical challenges facing the industry and this CanEx conference will be a great place for persons to come and learn about the industry.

“This conference will be an ideal platform to bring together the business aspect of the cannabis industry, it’s really critical that we remember that this is about business, investors, scientists, people who do product development, industry advocates, policy makers all of whom can find value in CanEx — as it’s really important to provide that forum where everyone can understand what a 21st century cannabis industry looks like,” she said.

CanEx Jamaica-Business Conference and Expo, now in its fourth staging will be held from September 26- 28, 2019 at Montego Bay Convention Centre. The conference will feature dynamic and knowledgeable speakers from around the world. Entrepreneurs, farmers and all other persons interested are urged to visit the conference so as to learn more about the cannabis industry and get involved in this fast-growing global industry.