A prominent Jamaican scientist and entrepreneur is launching a company that aims to capitalise on medical marijuana, a growing global industry that he asserted on Wednesday could be a boon for the island’s chronically limping economy.
Henry Lowe, the chairman of an institute that develops therapeutic and cosmetic products from native plants in Jamaica, is calling his new venture Medicanja. It will focus on isolating medicinal compounds in the cannabis plant, known locally as “ganja”, and Lowe said the research would not violate any local laws or international conventions.
Lowe, a researcher who specialises in medicinal chemistry, said Jamaica could become a powerhouse in the nascent medical marijuana industry, health tourism and the development of innovative pot-derived items.
Marijuana is pervasive on the Caribbean island despite being prohibited since 1913. It has long been used as a medicinal herb by Jamaican families and as a spiritual sacrament by Rastafarians. In 2001, a government-appointed commission said that ganja was “culturally entrenched” and recommended decriminalisation, but the effort stalled.
The island has long been the Caribbean’s biggest pot exporter to the US, where a growing number of states are relaxing their laws to decriminalise marijuana possession, and voters in Washington and Colorado have legalised the herb. – Sapa-AP