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Kronic Relief eyes US$20m ganja haul

Published:Wednesday | July 25, 2018 | 12:00 AMNeville Graham

Kronic Relief Jamaica is eyeing March to May of next year to begin reaping cannabis at its Crystal Springs farm, which it expects to yield one metric tonne per week.

But CEO Steven Conville says that that is just the starting point. The company, which says it has seven provisional licences approved by Cannabis Licensing Authority ranging from planting to export is entering the ganja market as a raw material supplier but aims to eventually build itself into a vertically integrated medical cannabis operation, spanning research and development, production, and extraction.

The Crystal Springs property is now being readied for planting, a process that includes clearing land to erect a growing facility, fencing of the property, and mounting cameras as a security measure against praedial thieves.

"We're doing a hybrid greenhouse structure, and we'll be able to crank out 50 metric tonnes of cannabis every year, but it will be of a higher quality," said Conville of the US$20 million investment being made in the project.

The hybrid greenhouses will use light enhancement, LEDs, that come on at dusk, go off at night, back on at early morning, and complementing natural light in overcast conditions.

Kronic Relief projects that the annual 50 metric tonnes of cannabis it produces will generate revenue of US$20 million, according to the CEO. This covers 'flower only'. Any revenues from further processing would be additional, but no estimate has been done, he said.

Sales will be targeted at Canada, at least in the first instance, since that country will be legalising cannabis for recreational use come October 2018.

Conville say that is in Jamaica's interest to grow high-quality cannabis to gain a comparative edge over other countries with the capacity to develop bigger fields, including places like Colombia.

As to financing, and the reluctance of the banks to engage, Corville was optimistic that eventually, a more favourable environment would unfold, given the foreign participation in Jamaica's cannabis market.

"We believe that the top five Canadian commercial producers would not be on the island if they weren't sure that the Canadian and Jamaican governments would be able to work it out," Conville said.