Thu | Jan 26, 2023

Jamaican ganja company Itopia Life expands to Canada

Published:Saturday | October 15, 2022 | 9:24 AM
Fortune Business Insights estimates that the global cannabis market will be worth at least US$176 billion in 2030, a potentially massive growth over the US$28 billion it estimated for 2021. -Contributed

Itopia Life Ltd, a Jamaican ganja company, has expanded its international brand to Canada, becoming the first local company to tap into the multibillion-dollar adult-use market in the North American country. 

Through a licensing agreement, the medical cannabis company introduced its first Jamaica-inspired strain, Cherry Juice, to the Canadian adult-use market in September. On Monday,  it will launch its first premium craft cannabis product, Cherry Juice, at the Toronto Marley Natural store.

The strain is currently available in over 100 cannabis stores across Toronto and Ontario, with plans to expand outlets to British Colombia and Newfoundland by the end of the year.

The size of the legal adult-use cannabis market in Canada stood at US$4 billion in 2022, and is forecast to reach US$7.7 billion in 2026, according to Statista, a global company that specialises in market and consumer data. 

Fortune Business Insights estimates that the global cannabis market will be worth at least US$176 billion in 2030, a potentially massive growth over the US$28 billion it estimated for 2021. 

Figures for Jamaica are not clear.

In May, the Cannabis Licensing Authority said it was projecting an increase in exports of cannabis for medicinal and therapeutic purposes during the current fiscal year. 

It said then that of the 156 export authorisations issued since 2018, 107 of them were granted during the last financial year.

Itopia Life's Chief Executive Officer, Blaine Dowdle, said the company's entry in the Canadian market is inspired by two big objectives.

“This is a win not just for Itopian but the entire Jamaican ganja industry. There is an international market for Jamaican ganja products due to the country's strong cultural association with the plant,” said Dowdle. “The launch of Itopian can be seen as the first foot through the door to step into the expansive market opportunity that Canada can provide Jamaican ganja companies.”

Dowdle said the second major objective is to lobby the Canadian Government to reverse its decision to prevent the import of commercial cannabis products.

According to Itopia, the move has disappointed many Jamaican and international cannabis companies, as Canada represented a significant market with excellent revenue potentials. 

Dowdle said there are plans to enter the US market, but a statement did not provide details on those intentions.

Meanwhile, Dowdle said the local sector has work to do. 

"What we need from the Jamaican authorities is to finalize an industry supportive framework around operations and value-added products, such as edibles and topicals, and systems to meet the requisite testing and packaging requirements.” 

Itopia Life operates a 70-acre ganja farm and production lab in Bonham, St Ann. 

Jamaica has distributed export authorisations to more than 10 countries, including Australia, Germany, Israel, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and Zimbabwe.

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