The agreement was signed by representatives of the CLA, Accompong Town Maroons, and Timeless Herbal Care, during a press conference at the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries’ New Kingston office.
The Alternative Development Project is being implemented as a strategy to transition traditional cannabis farmers from an illicit framework into the regulated environment, as a means of promoting sustainable economic development and poverty eradication.
It is also aimed at providing access to quality-controlled cannabis for medicinal purposes in keeping with government policy.
Portfolio Minister Audley Shaw, said that the signing will ensure that traditional growers of ganja/marijuana are not left out of the formal cannabis system.
“This is what it is about. We are, therefore, putting together this pilot project, and we are here for the signing of the first of two major pilot projects,” he said, noting that another signing will be done for a project in Orange Hill, Westmoreland.
Meanwhile, Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dermon Spence explained that the tripartite agreement sets out the terms and conditions under which the total crop of cannabis cultivated, in accordance with the authorisation issued to the traditional cultivation community (Accompong Town Maroons), will be purchased by the Authority (CLA) for the sale of an agreed amount to the downstream buyer (Timeless Herbal Care).
“Much consideration has been given to the setting up of the arrangement,” he said, noting that the roles and responsibilities of each entity has been carefully outlined.
Mr. Spence said that Prime Minister Andrew Holness, is expected to launch the Alternative Development Project later this year.
Meanwhile, Colonel of the Accompong Town Maroons, Ferron Williams, said he hopes that from the programme “farmers will be able to send their children to school and to have a better way of life”.
President and Chief Executive Officer, Timeless Herbal Care, Courtney Betty, expressed appreciation to the CLA for “pushing through” with the project.
“We are trying to build an industry in Jamaica for all of us, and the opportunities are great, not just for cannabis, but for any other project such as nutraceutical and cosmeceutical,” he noted.
“The world is waiting for Jamaican products, and this is a major step in leveraging the history of health and wellness of the Maroons… that is going to be a model for the rest of the world to look at,” Mr. Betty added.
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