KINGSTON, May 14 (JIS): Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, says the Government is seeking to make Jamaica a world leader on the medical uses of ganja.
He said that ganja is one of the most researched herbs and evidence is pointing to a significant number of medical benefits from its active ingredient, cannabinoids.
“There is now convincing data and evidence to support beneficial effects in relation to glaucoma, epilepsy, eating disorders and several more conditions, especially those affecting the nervous system,” Minister Paulwell said.
He was addressing a ceremony to hand over a Ganja Research Licence to the University of Technology (UTech), held this morning (May 14), at the institution’s Papine campus.
The licence permits the university to grow ganja for the purposes of research and development, in keeping with the provisions of the Dangerous Drugs Act. A similar licence has been granted to the University of the West Indies (UWI).
“If Jamaica wants to establish itself as a centre of excellence for research in ganja, this should be the home of research and development in ganja,” Minister Paulwell said.
“I am into building value here, and making this a multibillion-dollar industry for us in Jamaica,” he noted.
Acting President of UTech, Ambassador Burchell Whiteman, pointed out that the university is engaged in research “to advance national goals through relevant innovations and solutions.” He noted that execution of the licence will be done through local and international partnerships.
“With the current global interest and commercialisation of cannabis and hemp for medicinal, cosmeceutical, nutraceutical and functional foods, UTech intends to improve Jamaica’s capacity to reap the social benefits that are expected to come from this nascent industry,” Ambassador Whiteman said.
The ceremony was part of UTech’s Medical Marijuana Integration Day, held under the theme: ‘Cannabis Reclaimed’.
A public forum, on the legal aspects of decriminalisation of marijuana, and the implications for research, followed the handover ceremony.