JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Licences for the cultivation of ganja are to be granted to two of the island’s universities for the purpose of research
  • This was announced by Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell today (April 15), during his contribution to the 2015/16 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives.
  • The Minister said Jamaica can benefit significantly from the nutraceutical industry, which is valued at approximately US$600 billion, through engagement of scientific research in ganja, a move which he sees as a “silver lining.”

Licences for the cultivation of ganja are to be granted to two of the island’s universities for the purpose of research.

This was announced by Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell today (April 15), during his contribution to the 2015/16 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives.

He informed that the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the University of Technology (UTech) had applied for licences and have undergone a vigorous process for approval.

Minister Paulwell pointed out that strict conditions will apply regarding the granting of these licences, details of which are to be highlighted during a press conference to be announced.

He stressed that the issuing of the licences if not a “free-for-all” or to promote the smoking of ganja. “It is to recognise that this product has tremendous value in it and as we move towards enabling the commercialisation of medical ganja, the research aspect is crucial,” he said.

Minister Paulwell noted that there are many countries that have done very well in research in ganja, and Jamaica wants to re-establish itself as a centre of excellence in this area.

“This should be the home of research and development in ganja and that is what we intend to do,” he emphasised.

The Minister said Jamaica can benefit significantly from the nutraceutical industry, which is valued at approximately US$600 billion, through engagement of scientific research in ganja, a move which he sees as a “silver lining.”

The Minister further assured Jamaicans who have expressed apprehension about how the industry is going to develop, to “have no fear, everybody has a role to play – the small farmers and the large farmers.”

“We have to ensure that unlike other things where we have lost opportunities, we collaborate and we share information rather than compete internally ….let us work together to maximise this opportunity,” he said.

Ganja is one of the most researched herbs in the world. Significant medical benefits have been realised from its active ingredient known as cannabinoids.

In addition, 23 States within the United States have already moved towards medical ganja and evidence has been found supporting its beneficial effects on conditions such as glaucoma, epilepsy and eating disorders.

The Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act 2015, which has been passed into law and takes effect today, gives authority for the issuing of licences for the specific purpose of research.