As Jamaican medical cannabis grows in popularity, there is a real threat that the country’s unique strains will be lost
The Jamaica Medical Cannabis Corporation Ltd. (JMCC), a Canadian-Jamaican medical cannabis exporter, signed an agreement to invest $2 million USD over ten years to identify analyze, and preserve Jamaica’s indigenous cannabis strains.
JMCC signed an official Memorandum of Agreement with the National Foundation for the Development of Science and Technology (NFDST) on Monday, June 25th, to undertake the project, titled “Identification, Isolation and Conservation of Local Strains of Cannabis for Medicinal Use.” The project is funded through the JMCC’s charitable foundation, 102.
“JMCC is fully committed to supporting the Jamaican medical cannabis industry every way we can and ensuring there are lasting benefits for the country and its people,” said Diane Scott, JMCC’s Chief Executive Officer. “As Jamaican medical cannabis grows in popularity, there is a real threat that the country’s unique strains will be lost or irrevocably contaminated by hybridization, and it was important for us to be able to help to preserve what we believe are some of the best medical cannabis strains in the world.”
In 2012 and 2013, security forces in Jamaica removed acres of marijuana fields, demolished over a million cannabis seedlings, and confiscated kilograms of seeds. These enforcement initiatives threaten the existence of many of Jamaica’s rare and sought after marijuana strains.
The about-face the Jamaican government is doing to protect foreign investment is remarkable. New cannabis companies such as Cannalabs have former law enforcement officers on their board of directors.
The National Commission on Science and Technology (NCST) is a Jamaican charitable organization created to improve the use of science and technology in the county.
The organization will oversee managing the collection and disbursement of funds organized to execute the project.
Professor Errol Morrison, the Director General of the NCST stated that the goal is to preserve the various strains they encounter.
“We shall be using a nutraceutical affirmation of the claims for health benefits and we shall be archiving these claims for posterity, so that we can assure a hundred years from now that Strain X shall be Strain X and not hybridized out or cross-fertilized in any way,” explained Professor Errol Morrison, the Director General of the National Commission on Science and Technology.
Scott disclosed that “The farmers will not be compensated for providing their heritage strains,” to the cataloging effort and are expected to “share,” them with the NCST, for posterity.
Meanwhile, local Jamaican ganja farmers will most likely continue to preserve their proprietary strains by passing them down through familial generations. Ideally, they will also apply for seed patents before they share their heritage strains with Canadian preservationists.