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Car company eyes J'can ganja for interior fabric

Published:Sunday | June 17, 2018 | 12:00 AMJanet Silvera/ Senior Gleaner Writer

A major car company has expressed an interest in growing hemp in Jamaica for use as an alternative in the upholstery and decoration of their vehicles.

Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Audley Shaw, who recently returned from a trip to Canada, a country whose hemp and cannabis industry is rapidly approaching CDN$20 billion, made the announcement.

The agriculture minister described the hemp and cannabis industry as "awesome".

"Two Canadian companies over the past several weeks have merged to create in one case, a CDN$8-billion company, in another case; a CDN$7-billion company. And they are listed on the Canadian stock exchange," he argued, affirming the companies' legitimacy.

Shaw was speaking at the recent 2018 Build Expo and Conference at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall, St James.




The former finance minister revealed that the queries he is receiving in relation to cannabis are very interesting and that the one from the car company is being actively pursued.

He warned: "We in Jamaica need to step up our game on this very important industry. Otherwise, the rest of the world is going to run away and leave us. In a couple years' time, it (cannabis) will be a US$100-billion industry, and by 2025, it is estimated to reach US$150 billion globally."

Excited about the prospects, the minister, who had in his audience local and international exhibitors, said the market had huge possibilities.

He pointed out that he had been told of cannabis and hemp's many manifestations, their many uses, and their consideration for use also in the construction industry.

This fact has not escaped the expo's organisers, who have added the use of hemp as one of the topics set for discussion at the conference.