Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Cannabis excitement - a Jamaica opportunity?

The Late Prof The Hon Manley West OM

by Jean Lowrie-Chin | excerpt for column - Jamaica Observer - 27 Jan 2014
I recall the address by the late Prof Hon Manley West when our agency handled the launch of Canasol in the eighties for Federated Pharmaceutical.  He was effusive in his praise of the security forces who allowed him to have possession of ganja, as he and his colleagues created the amazing drug which is said to be one of the most effective treatments for glaucoma.  Subsequently the team also developed the drug ‘Asthmasol’ from the plant, and the manufacture continues to this day, under the leadership of Dr West’s partner, Dr Albert Lockhart.
Dr Henry Lowe and wife Janet at the launch of his company Medicanja last year
 Last December our trailblazing Jamaican scientist Dr Henry Lowe launched a new company to promote the medicinal compounds in ganja, pointing out that in developing Canasol, Jamaica became the first country in the world to have created a commercial product from ganja.  He said it would be unfortunate if our country did not grasp the opportunities offered by “a booming multi-billion dollar industry in Europe, Canada and the United States.” He noted that Canada's hemp industry is valued at over US$2billion yearly.

Recreational marijuana is now big business in Colorado - Huffington Post photo
Since then, the state of Colorado in the US has legalized the recreational use of marijuana and we notice several foreigners “knock, knock, knocking on heaven’s door” – Jamaica that is – we are told this is the home of the finest.  The authorities have been making positive statements and we hope that the ordinary Jamaican will be able to benefit from a properly regulated market for the product.
It seems we no longer have to fear the disapproval of the US. Reuters reporter David Ingram wrote last week: “U.S. treasury and law enforcement agencies will soon issue regulations opening banking services to state-sanctioned marijuana businesses even though cannabis remains classified an illegal narcotic under federal law, Attorney General Eric Holder said on Thursday.”

"You don't want just huge amounts of cash in these places," Mr Holder is quoted as saying.  "They want to be able to use the banking system. And so we will be issuing some regulations I think very soon to deal with that issue." The report advised that “Washington state is slated to launch its own marijuana retail network later this year, and several other states, including California, Oregon and Alaska, are expected to consider legalizing recreational weed in 2014.”

1 comment:

  1. I believe our island has been handed a beautiful opportunity. It will be left to the strategists and innovative minds to co-create a template that does not just allow for a few to benefit but for the socio-economic agenda to be progressed.