Tue | Nov 21, 2017

Canadian Ganja firm partners with Jamaicans

Published:Friday | October 27, 2017 | 12:00 AMSteven Jackson

Canopy Growth Corporation, which trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange as WEED, announced this week that it has formed a partnership with Jamaican investors.

The partnership is through Grow House JA Limited, which was registered as a company in September 2016 and plans to trade as Tweed JA.

Tweed indicates that it was granted conditional licence approvals and has already began construction of its facility. However, Cannabis Licensing Authority, CLA, has not responded to queries on the type and status of licences applied for by the entity.

"Tweed JA will serve the needs of the Jamaican medical cannabis market with Tweed's well-established cultivation, processing and international standards, matched with the local know-how of its Jamaican partners and the renowned sun, soil and water of Jamaica," stated the company in a release targeted to the Canadian market.

Canopy Growth holds 49 per cent of the share capital of Grow House JA. The other owners are Jamaican businessmen Paul Haynes, with 30.6 per cent, and Adam Vaz at 20.4 per cent, according to Companies Office of Jamaica records. Calls to the local number associated with the two Jamaicans went to voicemail. Additionally, Tweed Canada acknowledged receipt of queries about the venture but is yet to respond.

World-class cannabis market

"Jamaica represents a world-class cannabis market, and we are fortunate to be working with a highly experienced and knowledgeable local team so we can put the right pieces in place to turn these opportunities into local prosperity and success," said Bruce Linton, chairman and CEO, Canopy Growth, in the press release. "Ensuring we have the brands, infrastructure, and the right people in place is our priority. We look forward to contributing to a successful Jamaican cannabis market with the addition of Tweed JA," he said.

The CLA has received multiple applications from local and foreign sources for licences to operate in Jamaica's nascent cannabis market. The regulatory only just issued its first two licences last week to Epican, which received a Tier 1 cultivator licence, and Everyting Oily, which was issued a Tier 1 processor licence. They also signed a tripartite agreement, signifying their arrangement to conduct business together, in keeping with the requirement to have the industry operate as a closed-loop system.

The CLA now has another three undisclosed applicants, whose licences are pending. Another 57 conditional licences have been approved, but those entities are completing their requirements for final sign-off, while another 209 applications are being processed.

Canopy Growth said that it was confident that the production and formulation model it built in Canada, combined with local entrepreneurs with "substantial" cannabis cultivation experience, would promote Jamaica's well-established and renowned ganja, oils and other cannabis products on a global level.

"Here's to future ganja growth," it added.

Through its wholly-owned subsidiaries, Canopy Growth operates numerous state-of-the-art production facilities with over half a million square feet of certified indoor and greenhouse production capacity. It holds CDN$743.6 million worth of total assets with relatively low liabilities.

The company made a net loss of CDN$4.4 million on sales of CDN$16 million over three months ending June 2017. The Tweed subsidiary is a recognised cannabis production brand, which is aiming for global reach.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com