KINGSTON, Jamaica--The Jamaica Bauxite Institute (JBI) is to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) this week with Canadian-based Timeless Herbal Care (THC) for greenhouse cultivation of cannabis on mined-out bauxite lands for medical use.
The signing of the MOU, which was expected last week Thursday at the JBI, was postponed until this Wednesday to accommodate Transport and Mining Minister Mike Henry’s involvement.
Henry, who has been a consistent advocate of using the mined-out lands for research and development in growing Jamaican marijuana for medical products, said Thursday that he wanted to be sure that would be a focus of the MOU before the signing.
He told the Jamaica Observer that he has been interested in a research and development process guiding farmers using the mined-out lands to start growing cannabis crops to fulfil the requirements of companies like Timeless Herbal Care. He said he received that support from the JBI.
“It is something that I have announced before, and it is something that the research and development unit of the Jamaica Bauxite Institute has been interested in. We want to do the research and development to ensure that the farmers get full benefit from the growing of cannabis,” he stated.
THC, a nutraceutical pharmaceutical company producing medical marijuana products, announced in September 2015 that it had secured a US $100-million deal to develop medical marijuana products in Jamaica for the international market.
Jamaican-Canadian Courtney Betty, who heads the company, said then that the deal would create many local jobs, as Jamaica was destined to become a hub for medical marijuana investments.
The company promotes marijuana (ganja) leaves and buds as containing cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer nutrient compound with medical benefits recognised by the United States Government.
Located in Montego Bay, THC says it bridges the gap between tropical luxury and global health care through medical tourism packages.
The company insists it has a team of medical professionals who “are dedicated to helping patients access world-class medical treatment,” while assisting them in changing their lifestyle to live healthier lives.
On Thursday, JBI Chairman Bindley Sangster confirmed that the signing of the MOU will be hosted by the institute at its head office at Hope Gardens at 2:00pm Wednesday.
He said that he would not reveal any further details about the agreement prior to the signing. However, he admitted that the agreement was “a new development and a new approach” to the use of the mined-out lands owned by the JBI, and would make new opportunities available to farmers who lease the lands for farming.
Richard “Dickie” Crawford, the main spokesman for THC, told the Sunday Observer that the company had no problem with the postponement of the signing because he was sure it would mean a more satisfying agreement between the JBI and THC.
“It is not a setback at all. The MOU has just been completed and it can’t hurt at all if we end up with a more elaborate agreement,” Crawford said.
The JBI deals mainly with the sovereign aspects of the Government’s participation in the bauxite/alumina industry. It also gives technical support to the Government’s other two bauxite/alumina institutions – Jamaica Bauxite Mining Ltd and the Bauxite and Alumina Trading Company. ~ Jamaica Observer ~