Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw (right), participates in the ground-breaking of Virtudes Hemp Farm along with Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Virtudes Company Limited, Jamiel Jamieson (centre) and Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder, Farrah Zaragan in Lennox Bigwoods, Westmoreland, on November 21.
Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw says protocols are being developed to prevent cross- pollination of medicinal hemp sites and formal cannabis cultivation sites in order to safeguard the local marijuana industry.
A four to 10miles buffer methodology is being proposed similarly to that which is used across the United States and in other jurisdictions.
“Industrial hemp will not be considered because of the high risk it poses to our indigenous ganja industry. Feminised medicinal hemp is what we have approved...only female plants will be used both for ganja and medicinal hemp, further reducing the risk of cross-pollination,” Mr. Shaw said.
The Minister was speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony of Virtudes Hemp Farm in Lennox Bigwoods, Westmoreland on November 21.
When hemp and cannabis cross-pollinate, the potency of a female cannabis plant’s cannabinoids is likely to be reduced significantly, while the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in hemp plants can ruin the crops also.
Mr. Shaw noted that frequent monitoring by enforcement and monitoring officers of the Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) will be carried out to ensure compliance to the protocols as well as to ensure the absence of “male or hermaphrodite hemp plants”.
“All hemp cultivation sites currently registered by the Authority (CLA) are part of a phased approach to allow for data collection, analysis and any potential negative impacts on our ganja industry,” the Minister said.
Mr. Shaw congratulated Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Virtudes, Jamiel Jamieson and wished for him continued success.
With an investment of US$1million, Virtudes will not only cultivate hemp but plans to supply its by-products including hemp flower and cannabidiol (CDB) oils, to both local and international health and wellness product manufacturers.
Virtudes expects to have their first crop of hemp reaped from their over 113 acreage farm by March 2020.
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