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Briefing | 'Ganja is the only way forward' - Focus of UWI Cannabis Cup

Published:Tuesday | April 4, 2017 | 12:00 AMDr Andre Haughton
Ganja farm

The University of the West Indies (UWI) invites you to participate in the 6th annual Scarce Commodity/Innocent Plant Symposium, to be held at the Oriental Gardens beside the UWI Chapel on April 20, 2017. The symposium will feature a Cannabis Business Summit and Expo, with booths showcasing the medical cannabis products that are currently being researched and developed by local business and households, a symposium, UWI Cannabis Cup, as well as live concert.




The symposium will be the launch for the Jamaica 4/20 Inaugural UWI National Ganja/Cannabis Cup in keeping with the new legislation enacted in 2015 to allow households to grow five plants. Six national awards will be handed out on the day:

1. THC Trophy (green) Ital Standard.

2. THC Trophy (green) Medical Marijuana standard.

3. CBD Trophy (Pink).

4. Best edible.

5. Best non-edible.

6. Best Cannabis Drink.

The Department of Life Sciences will do the testing of the samples collected from the exhibitors.

Registration starts at 9 am sharp and closes at noon on the day of the event. Each entrant must submit four ounces of cannabis/ganja for examination and testing. Contact @scarcecommodityja or email




In keeping with World Marijuana Day celebrated on April 20 each year, the symposium will discuss the future of the industry, the value of the industry, and how Jamaica can coordinate to materialise its share of the global industry.




1. Professor Archibald McDonald will bring greetings and set the stage.

2. Machel Emmanuel will speak on farming techniques, how to grow, package and transport the plant to minimise losses.

3. Dr Kahdamawe Knife will speak on the entrepreneurship and social enterprises necessary to make the industry work.

4. Dr Andre Haughton will speak on financing of the industry and the way forward to establish a Growers Cooperative Credit Union.

5. Dr Sonjah Niaah will speak to the importance of marijuana to Jamaica's culture.




According to the DEA Administrative Law judge Francis Young, marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest natural therapeutically active substances known to man. 'Cannabis Yields and Dosage: A Guide to the Production and Use of Media Marijuana' outlines that cannabis resins and its derivatives have been used to treat symptoms of ADD/ ADHD, AIDS, anorexia, anxiety, arthritis, asthma, ataxia, bipolar, cachexia, cancer, chronic fatigue, chronic pain, cramps, Crohn's, depression, epilepsy, fever, glaucoma (progressive blindness), HIV, insomnia, migraine, MS, nausea, neuralgia, neuropathy, PMS, PTSD, rheumatism, sickle cell anaemia, spasms, spinal injury, stress, vomiting, and wasting syndrome.




Many Jamaicans are discouraged from getting a full understanding of the health benefits of cannabis due to general ignorance and misunderstanding. As a result, Scarce Commodity is a cooperative structure established by the University of the West Indies to educate, provide technical support, enhance and market the potential of Jamaica's medical marijuana industry in a sustainable manner. Scarce Commodity places a strong focus on improving health, expanding industries and creating wealth for the nation. Scarce Commodity was present at the well-established 14th Annual Stepping High Ganja Festival.




The 14th Annual 'Stepping High Ganja Festival' was held in Negril on the March 4 and 5, 2017. Scarce Commodity was present there conducting market research, including questioners and semi-structured interviews with the promoters, judges, patrons and vendors inside and outside. Approximately 400 patrons were inside, with more than 1,000 potential patrons outside. Approximately 30 per cent of the patrons were tourists, including doctors, lawyers, seed sellers, growers, and users. They all agree that Jamaica needs an event for April 20 each year - Jamaica 4/20.

The event scored 9/10 by foreigners for its ambience, energy, vibes, information, package and overall presentation and reach, although it could have been better supported by corporate Jamaica. The results emanating from the analysis of the event indicated that it scored 6/10 for the organisation, marketing and branding, but ranked 8/10 for vibes, experience and concept. Lack of sufficient funding was highlighted as the major constraint to the disadvantages, which the promoters have pledged to start promoting next year's event from now.

The results further showed that the tourists present rated the event 10 out of 10. The vendors gave the event an average score of 4/10 due to low sales. The local patron gave the event 5/10. They all were squeezed with the low turnout due to the high entry fee. Vendors outside the venue rated the event 8/10. The vendors outside the event attended to five more customers on average than vendors inside the event. Patrons outside were unable to enter due to the high entry fee, but loved the idea of the event and wished they could have entered.

- Dr Andre Haughton is a lecturer in the Department of Economics on the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies. Follow him on Twitter @DrAndreHaughton; or email