Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Audley Shaw (right), points at a jar of CBD oil being held by State Minister in the Ministry, Dr. the Hon. Norman Dunn (left), while chemist at the Organic Growth Holdings (OGH) hemp facility, Jordan McKenzie (second from left), explains the process of making the substance. Observing is OGH pharmacist, Layanne Bloomfield. Occasion was a tour of the OGH hemp facility in Jackson Town, Trelawny, on Friday (December 18).
Following the first shipment of cannabidiol (CBD) oil to Delaware in the United States by Organic Growth Holdings (OGH) in Trelawny, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Audley Shaw, toured the facility on December 18.
The Minister was accompanied by State Minister in the Ministry, Dr. the Hon. Norman Dunn.
The tour of the hemp facility in Jackson Town was carried out to get an overview of its operations and processes.
At a press briefing that preceded the tour, Mr. Shaw congratulated OGH on the milestone.
“I am really happy to know that you have successfully exported your first batch of CBD oil. I want to stress that this is significant, because over the past years we have been importing CBD oil into Jamaica. This is the first time we are producing CBD oil from hemp at a commercial level, at a world standard, not only for export but [it] will also be available locally,” Mr. Shaw said.
The Minister assured President of OGH, Robert Weinstein, that the Ministry, as well as the Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) and other government agencies, is “here to work with you, because we want to see the hemp industry [become] a major part of the alternative industries for this area in Jamaica…. because we have too much idle lands in Jamaica, and with that comes idle hands”.
“Minister Dunn and I, along with our staff and agencies, are going to work with you to make sure that you continue to be a smashing success and that you will be profitable and [see] wealth created from this initiative,” he added.
For his part, Dr. Dunn emphasised that the Government is on a drive to keep modernising and adjusting the cannabis industry.
“Some persons have said we are slow in the trek, but we have to be cautious in what we do, because of the legacy of this particular product and how persons have viewed Jamaica over the years. We want to ensure that everything is done correctly and in a manner that can stand [up] to scrutiny anywhere in the world,” Dr. Dunn said.
“I believe that Jamaica, more than almost anywhere else, has a tremendous opportunity to grow a product here that has been popularised by the Rastafarians for years… . They have carried that torch and we believe that the torch can be made into a flame for Jamaica,” he added.
Dr. Dunn said the Ministry is hopeful that there will be good news concerning the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act in the United States, which was introduced last year as a means of permanently protecting financial institutions in legalised states that want to offer basic banking services to marijuana businesses.
“We continue to believe that, notwithstanding the challenges now with the third-party banking and the institutions, in very short order there should be positive news coming out of the United States and their federal system, and we want to ensure that Jamaica is at the forefront to take advantage of that,” he said.
Organic Growth Holdings Incorporated, which trades locally as OGH Grow Jamaica (OGH), leased the 635-acre property from Sugar Company of Jamaica Holdings to grow craft medicinal hemp, which will be used in the manufacture of a number of organic wellness products. The property formerly housed the Long Pond Sugar Factory.
Craft medicinal hemp is the meticulous process of growing premium hemp. The CBD-infused products are made at their processing facilities, also located on the property. An investment of US$4 million was used to undertake the project.
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The Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce is described as Jamaica's "Business Ministry." It's mandate is to lead the development of policies that will create growth and jobs, while achieving social inclusion and consumer protection. The Ministry, working its stakeholders is primarily responsible for business policy development, monitoring and evaluation, while giving direction and oversight to a cluster of implementing departments and agencies.
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