Canadian-based Canopy Growth Corporation (TWMJF) announced that it launched a strategic partnership in the Jamaican cannabis market as part of its ongoing international expansion. The partnership will be called Grow House JA Limited and will operate as Tweed Limited JA. Canopy Growth will own 49% of the capital of Tweed JA and the company said that the conditional license approvals are already in place and construction has begun on the facilities.
Tweed JA will use Tweed’s established cultivation processing along the island’s abundant sun and good soil and the local know-how of its Jamaican partners to create a product that will serve the needs of the Jamaican medical cannabis market.
“Jamaica represents a world-class cannabis market, and we are fortunate to be working with a highly experienced and knowledgeable local team so we can put the right pieces in place to turn these opportunities into local prosperity and success,” said Bruce Linton, Chairman & CEO, Canopy Growth. “Ensuring we have the brands, infrastructure, and the right people in place is our priority. We look forward to contributing to a successful Jamaican cannabis market with the addition of Tweed JA.”
Jamaica has had a conflicted relationship with marijuana. On the one hand, many residents are Rastafarians which incorporates cannabis into religious ceremonies. On the other hand, the government has been very opposed to its use. Colonial elites outlawed cannabis in 1913 with the Ganja Act and added more punishment with the Marijuana Tax Act in 1924. The Ganja law was modified in the 70’s but was mostly still illegal.
In 2015, the Jamaican legislature voted to amend the nation’s cannabis laws and decriminalize marijuana. This led to the introduction of the Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA). The Jamaican government has been developing a framework for the cultivation and sale of medical cannabis. Tourists can purchase medical marijuana, but trafficking and possession are still illegal. Possession under two ounces is a petty offense. Jamaica cannot fully legalize cannabis without violating the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.
This brings up an interesting point with the Toronto Exchange where Canopy is listed in Canada. The Exchange recently said that its listed companies couldn’t do business in America where marijuana is still federally illegal. Technically, that is the same case in Jamaica.
According to the company statement, “Canopy Growth is confident that the production and formulation model it has built in Canada, combined with the strength of the existing team in Jamaica, made up of experienced entrepreneurs with substantial cannabis cultivation experience, will drive the national conversation around cannabis forward, and promote Jamaica’s well-established and renowned ganja, oils and other cannabis products on a global level.”