ROSE HALL, St James — Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Audley Shaw has announced that he will be going to Canada this week on a mission to hold talks with players in the medical cannabis industry.

“Every time we talk about cannabis and hemp in Jamaica, is a big joke! But it is the fastest-growing industry globally right now. Canada, multiple billions of dollars. And I am going there next week to talk to the cannabis industry in Canada — next week,” Shaw announced last Friday night.

“Because, how can it be that we — just like we have the best coffee, the best cocoa, the best this, the best that — we also have the best marijuana (ganja)! And we must just sit around and be a sample nation and talk about two ounce of the thing in we hand middle? And look at what’s happening to cannabis globally!”

Noting that already he has had discussions with the governor of the Bank of Jamaica in regards to financing of the industry, Shaw said that during his trip to Canada, among the issues he will be seeking to address is “to see what mechanism they are using to get around that issue right now.

Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Audley Shaw

“But other countries are doing it: Canada is doing it, Israel is doing it, European countries are doing it. States of the United States are finding ways around these problems related to banking,” Shaw said.

He reflected that “couple decades ago or more when (US) President (Ronald) Reagan said marijuana is the worst thing ever” no one could have foreseen that “now for the past 10 years they have been studying cannabis in the United States because the phenomenon of opioids is destroying America”.

“Synthetic drugs are destroying America. And they are now finding that cannabis is an able replacement for opioids in the United States. Even President Trump has now said, ‘hold on, we have to take another look at medical cannabis’. So what happen to we in Jamaica? Well, if America itself is coming around to the view that medical marijuana is an issue that must be focused on, then it’s only a matter of time before the banking has to fall in place to support that.”

He was speaking at the Jamaica Credit Union League’s 77th Annual General Meeting and Convention at the Hilton’s Rose Hall Hotel and Spa in St James.

The convention was held under the theme: ‘Re-imaging and moving forward together’.

SOURCE Jamaica Observer