Thu | Aug 17, 2017

CanEx Conference Organiser Upbeat about Event

Published:Friday | September 2, 2016 | 9:00 AMBarbara Ellington
Douglas Gordon

Douglas K. Gordon, publisher/editor-in-chief of Ocean Style Magazine is getting ready to host the first CanEx Conference in Montego Bay today. The conference scheduled for the Montego Bay Convention Centre will delve into the benefits of and the real impact of cannabis on our bodies, among other topics.

Gordon is no stranger to organising events and activities that will benefit the citizens of the Caribbean, and in recent years, he has been looking at expanding the events management business and services from producing our own consumer events to also producing business-to-business events for themselves and for external clients.

"We considered different industries but after some research and exploration of what was taking place locally and the international marketplace in the cannabis industry, we felt strongly that there was a great need to bring something different to the local market," Gordon told The Gleaner in an email interview.

"Before figuring out how best to make this conference viable, we realised with all the conversation taking place, there was still a real need to facilitate wider education and participation from all levels in Jamaica," Gordon added.

In his preparation for the conference, Gordon's research into the subject locally and internationally left no doubt that there was tremendous opportunity for a vibrant legal cannabis industry in Jamaica, which could add considerably to Jamaica's economic development.

Gordon and his team were therefore motivated to produce a conference that facilitated information exchange, shared knowledge and which provided meaningful and robust networking opportunities that would translate into tangible outcomes.

Several requests

Ever since the decriminilasation of ganja for medicinal/religious uses in Jamaica, there have been several requests from small ganja farmers for inclusion in any process that will lead to better economic conditions for them. The Gleaner asked Gordon whether he had made any attempts to include/invite members of the small ganja farming community in the conference.

"Absolutely! We have gone out of our way to include participants at every level of the industry. Farmers, large and small; business people, researchers and all cultural persuasions. We have engaged the various Rastafarian groups, government ministers and opposition spokespersons, policymakers, companies and investors and every other participant who we have learnt of or been introduced to. Our goal is to facilitate a progressive discussion and forward progress for this industry and as wide a participation as possible," Gordon said.

Asked whether there was too much talk and not enough action to take advantage of the economic opportunities in the cannabis industry, Gordon said across the globe, the rate of growth of the industry is significant and accelerating.

"Folks involved globally are serious, focused and driven. That does not suggest it should be pursued with reckless abandon; there is a time for talk, a time for action, and a time for acting while you're talking. If Jamaica is to carve out a niche for itself and reap significant benefits from the legal cannabis industry, then the time for action is here and now because the world and the opportunities are not waiting."

The future

For the future, Gordon, who is the CEO of Blue Wolf Media, plans to put together more corporate and business events.

"Given Jamaica's association with cannabis, at a time of general acceptance and legalisation, the speed at which the industry is expanding and developing without Jamaica having a significant role in or benefit from that process is upsetting to me."

Gordon hopes that participants will take from this conference a real sense that Jamaica has the talent, knowledge and expertise along with the business acumen to make excellent partners, whether in a direct commercial relationship or in pursuing research or other opportunities.

"My biggest goal in all of this is that concrete business relationships are struck and that this platform might play an important part in propelling the industry forward quickly, so that Jamaica can reap the substantial benefits available from the cannabis industry.

barbara.ellington@gleanerjm.com