Tue | Sep 17, 2019

Westmoreland ganja farmers sign $200m deal with Canadians

Published:Friday | February 8, 2019 | 9:57 AM

WESTERN BUREAU:

The Westmoreland Hemp and Ganja Farmers Association has signed a CDN$2-million (J$200-million) deal with the Canada-based Wiisang Corporation (WHSAG) and its affiliates to establish a medical ganja project in the western Jamaica parish.

The agreement was formalised at a meeting between representatives of both organisations in Negril on Sunday. Wiisang is headed by Executive Director Jake Linkator, a Canadian Aborigine.

“Both parties are seeking to forge a strategic partnership to grow and produce medical marijuana,” said the ganja farmers’ group chairman, Delroy Johnson, who participated in the signing. “The overall aim is to create a strategic partnership that will, over time, grow into an international brand that will benefit Westmoreland ganja farmers and indigenous Rastafarian communities.

In exchange for their funding, the Canadian investors will receive shares in the ganja farmers’ association and will partner in marketing, research, and the development of medical marijuana derivatives, among other things.

WIN-WIN SITUATION

“This is a win-win situation for both parties. We believe we have made a very good deal, and we are now looking to ensuring that we achieve the desired result,” Johnson told The Gleaner. “We are particularly pleased that small farmers will benefit from this arrangement.”

The signing was endorsed by Jamaican ganja activist Ras Iyah V, member of the Cannabis Licensing Authority board and one of the world’s most-sought-after speakers on the science of growing marijuana and the indigenous rights of weed farmers, especially Rastafarians.

“We want to see agreements like these because we believe the small farmers must have a stake in this emerging new industry,” said Iyah, who is the driving force behind the annual Rastafari Roots Fest and Ganjamaica Cup in Negril.

According to the Westmoreland Hemp and Ganja Farmers Association, the interim agreement between the two entities is subject to a broader legal framework to be agreed in the future. The deal will facilitate the cultivation of two crops of medical marijuana grown on 10 acres of land this year.

“It is expected that 120 persons will be directly employed to the initial pilot project agreed by the Government of Jamaica,” Johnson said. “WHSAG has a long history of partnering with indigenous communities to create wealth and empowerment for disadvantaged communities.”

adrian.frater@gleanerjm.com