Multimillion$ ganja investment in works
Christoper Serju, Gleaner Writer
Canadian businessman Raymond Grant is in the island representing the interests of a group of North American investors, who, it is said, are poised to make a multimillion-dollar investment in medical ganja as soon as government grants the green light.
"One investor alone says they will put up two million Canadian dollars, just one; and I represent a group which is willing to do this," Grant told The Gleaner.
"The details are still to be worked out because (we) can't do anything until government flies the gate, but we are thinking of maybe, setting up a receiving and production facility somewhere here in Jamaica," he added.
Speaking at a recent Gleaner Editor's Forum, Industry and Investment Minister Anthony Hylton said the country should not "underestimate the importance or significance of this ganja/marijuana sector with proper regulation".
Meanwhile, the Jamaican-born Grant, said the investment is entirely dependent on Jamaica legalising, not just the production and sale of ganja, but its export as well.
With the licensed producers of ganja in Canada having to cultivate ganja in greenhouses, due to the cool climate and freezing temperatures, Grant said ganja farming in the north American country is expensive.
Canada will allow import
"I am advised that Health Canada will allow its (ganja) import as long as the country of origin allows its export for medicinal purpose. So the company representative I'm meeting with tomorrow (Wednesday) wants to make sure that it is legal because if the country of origin does not approve the product for export and they try to bring in it, Canadian customs will seize and destroy it," he disclosed.
Maxine Stowe, vice chairman of the Ganja Future Growers and Producers Association, said the unique flavour of Jamaican strains of ganja has made it a much in-demand global brand which must be protected.
"What we don't have here is capital," she told the press conference, which her organization hosted at the Liguanea Club, New Kingston.
"Our interest is international partnerships and big business and that is why we need to have a properly regulated and well-structured ganja industry," she said.
Hylton said the sector has the potential to contribute to "real investments". "I am not talking about something shady," he said.
The Government currently has an inter-ministerial committee considering regulations for ganja industry.