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UWI Pesticide Research Lab Makes the ISO Mark


The University of the West Indies, (UWI) Mona has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ganja Growers and Producers Association of Jamaica to enable the University to engage independent contractors or other approved bodies in the growing of Cannabis Plants for the purpose of conducting research. The MOU was signed on Friday, April 24, 2015 at a ceremony held on The UWI, Mona Campus in Kingston, Jamaica.

The research on marijuana will be led by a newly established group at The UWI, Mona – the Cannabis Research Institute. Initially, the Institute will focus on identifying the different strains of local marijuana, how the different strains interact with the human body as well as products that may be derived from the plant. The work of the Institute will also have a direct economic impact on small farmers across Jamaica, some of whom will be contracted to produce the marijuana plants needed to facilitate the research.

The MOU signing ceremony follows closely on the historic planting of Jamaica's first legal marijuana plant at The UWI, Mona Faculty of Medical Sciences Teaching & Research Complex on Monday, April 20, 2015. Both developments have been made possible by the granting of a licence to The UWI, Mona to grow marijuana for research purposes. The licence was granted under the provisions of a ministerial order issued by Minister of Science, Technology, Energy, and Mining Phillip Paulwell recently under Section 7 (d) of the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act. The licence also permits the Mona Campus to engage independent contractors or other approved bodies in the growing of Cannabis Plants for the purpose of conducting research.

The events highlight UWI's position as the pioneer in legally cultivating and researching the benefits of the drug in Jamaica. The UWI, Mona has long taken a lead role in the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The marijuana-based drug Canasol, used in the treatment of glaucoma, was pioneered by the late Professor Manley West of The UWI, Mona Department of Pharmacology.

Mona Principal, Professor Archibald McDonald, serves as Chair of the Cannabis Commercial and Medicinal Research Task Force (CCMRT), an umbrella group, launched in September 2013. Participating organizations include The University of the West Indies; the University of Technology (UTECH), Jamaica; the Scientific Research Council; the Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises (MSME); the Jamaica Agricultural Society; Small Business Association of Jamaica; the Rastafarian Millennium Council; Ganja Law Reform Coalition (GLRC), and the National Alliance for the Legalization of Ganja (NALG), among others.

In 2014, The UWI, Mona signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Timeless Herbal Care, a company which is involved in research into and the growing of herbal plants and with GenCanna Global, Inc., trading as Strains of Hope, to facilitate the conduct of research into the medicinal properties of marijuana (cannabis sativa). Strains of Hope are one of the largest marijuana growers and dispensary owners in Colorado, in the United States of America.

The UWI, Mona also hosted a three-day Inaugural Jamaica Cannabis Conference, in May 2014


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