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Kaya ships ganja to Australia

Published:Friday | November 26, 2021 | 8:31 AM

Marijuana company Kaya shipped five kilogrammes of cannabis flower to Australia, its first such export arrangement.

The shipment, valued at $1.3 million, was made in November.

Kaya, which operates a ganja farm as well as a chain of medical marijuana shops or herbhouses, hopes to continue the shipments over time.

Kaya shipped cannabis oil in February 2020 to the Cayman Islands; Australia was its first flower shipment.

“We would like to continue to build on strength and further our current agreements in Cayman and Australia where we can see monthly or quarterly exports on a regular basis,” said Kaya CEO Bali Vaswani.

Australia does not have herbhouses but patients can purchase through clinics and dispensaries.

Kaya started operations in Jamaica but recently set up shop in Uruguay, as well. It’s next looking towards Europe as an export market.

“Other countries such as Portugal and Germany will take more time but we will continue the process in terms of building the framework between the necessary countries so that we comply with their current import regulations,” Vaswani said.

In June, the Cannabis Licensing Authority, which regulates the marijuana sector, announced that it issued 19 export authorisations between January and June of this year 2021; and that overall, it’s issued 42 export authorisations to 10 entities since 2018.

Marijuana producers in Jamaica have shipped the weed to Africa, North America, the Caribbean, Europe and Oceania/Australia. Up to June, which represents the latest export data available, some 1,000 kilograms of cannabis flower, 3kg of seeds and 40 litres of cannabis oil were exported legally.

Vaswani said his company continues to scale its operations and aims to raise US$22 million in collaboration with its new partner, NUGL Inc in the United States.

The Kaya/NUGL deal was disclosed in market filings in October. The capital raise will fund growth projects for both in their respective countries of operation.

“We announced our plans for our merger & acquisition with NUGL Inc in October in the US, where we will be raising US$2 million in the short term. Once the transaction is complete and a second round of up to US$20 million under our regulation A capital raise in 2022,” said Vaswani in response to Financial Gleaner queries.

Kaya previously shelved plans a few years ago to raise funds in the Canadian market.

Under the American partnership, the 2022 budget for the merged operations will see the enlarged company focusing on the markets in the United States, Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Australia and Uruguay.

NUGL also runs a media platform for distribution of music, ganja news, and cannabis content that the partners will utilise, in order to “engage more patients to be more informed on products but also to be able to have live events broadcast from Kaya locations online through NUGL to a wider audience globally”, Vaswani said.

Since the onset of the pandemic, shrinking clientèle for herbhouses has led to he dissolution of a number of partnerships between Jamaican and Canadian entities.

Since 2020, tourists at the local Kaya herbhouses dropped from seven-in-ten, to two-in-ten. It means that, at the moment, most patrons are locals, but with a more discerning budget.

“You have to pay more attention to your customer as instead of getting a once-a-week high ticket spend, we are seeing more frequent visits at a lower spend, as people have more time and also are watching how much they spend during these times,” the Kaya CEO said.