Tue | Oct 20, 2020

Protocols being developed to safeguard ganja industry

Published:Saturday | November 23, 2019 | 12:16 AM

Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Audley Shaw has said 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 10 miles buffer methodology is being proposed, similar 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,” Shaw said.

The minister was speaking at the groundbreaking 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.

Shaw noted that frequent monitoring by enforcement and monitoring officers of the Cannabis Licensing Authority will be carried out to ensure compliance to the protocols as well as to ensure the absence of “male or hermaphrodite hemp plants”.