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Phytomedicine and Cannabis Institute to be established in Jamaica


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October 2019
 

Industry, Commerce, Agriculture, and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw (second left) expresses delight at a point made by Director of Harvard Global Health Catalyst, Professor Wilfred Ngwa (second left), at a media briefing between the Ministry and Harvard International Phytomedicine and Medical Cannabis Institute (HIPI), at the Ministry’s New Kingston offices on October 1. Others from left are Chief Executive Officer of the Eden Gardens Group, Dr. Henry Lowe and Economic Growth Council Vice President, Dr. Sherene Smith.

Above Body

 01 Oct 2019    communications   

A local phytomedicine and cannabis institute will be established in short order to explore Jamaica’s vast botanical resources and validate the country’s medicinal plants for safety, efficacy, and dosage in clinical use.
This forms part of a research partnership being solidified with the United States-based Harvard International Phytomedicine and Medical Cannabis Institute.
The Economic Growth Council (EGC) and the Ministry of Industry Commerce Agriculture and Fisheries are coordinating the project to ensure that there is economic gain for all stakeholders including farmers and traditional herbalists, who possess decades of knowledge in plant medicine.
Addressing a press conference at his St. Lucia Avenue offices in New Kingston on Tuesday (October 1), Portfolio Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw informed that the global phytomedicine industry is expected to reach US$111 billion, an average growth of 7. 2 per cent annually.
He acknowledged that the island stands to benefit largely from the “new and emerging field” particularly in light of Jamaica’s rich plant diversity, the traditional use of medicinal plants and advances in scientific research and technological development.
“I can easily see this industry climbing rapidly…Jamaica has 52 per cent of the established medicinal plants of the world,” he said.
In her remarks, EGC, Vice President, Dr. Sherene Smith, said the local phytomedicine and cannabis institute will facilitate participation in joint research, utilizing information and communication technologies, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and informatics to patent and commercialise plants and plant extracts.
“This will, in turn, allow the agronomist and traditional herbalists to be a part of this venture utilizing indigenous knowledge to gain intellectual property rights and part ownership of patents,” she said.
“In this way, indigenous knowledge and resources will be scientifically validated and made medically useful while creating jobs and increase wealth,” she continued.
The team from Harvard was invited to Jamaica to provide assistance to the country as it looks to deepen its global competitiveness in the cannabis industry.
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