Saturday 19 January 2019

The Alternative Development Programme For Growing Ganja

Maroon farmers listen to Prime MinisterAndrew Holness
Jamaican Prime Minister Announces Medical Marijuana Cultivation programme for Indigenous Maroons

By Stephen Weir

The government of Jamaica is paving the way for Indigenous Maroons to legally cultivate Medical Marijuana within the country’s Maroon communities. Late last week, Prime Minister Andrew Holness told a gathering of Maroon leaders and farmers that in the first quarter of 2019 they would have the legal right to grow ganja.

“We have made a decision to allow for what is called the Alternative Development Programme for growing ganja because it is a real fear that as the medical industry emerges to become more corporatized that Maroons, the original ganjamen will be left out of the gains and the benefits of growing Medical Marijuana. You were the first to sing the praises of Medical Marijuana and (your communities) so well know the curative benefits of Medical Ganja.”

The Government of Jamaica has made a decision that Agriculture will play a leading role in the development of the country and the Maroons.  One of the target areas is creating value products from the many medicinal herbal plants that grow in Jamaica.

According to Jamaica’s Minister of Agriculture Audley Shaw, “ Ganja which has been seen to be part of the problems in Jamaica is now part of the solution for the economic and social development of the country. The Accompong Maroons bring a long history of using local Jamaican ganja as a medicine and together we are combing their local strains with international scientific research to develop valued added medical marijuana products for the rest of the world.”
“This programme is of significant importance to ensure that small farmers benefit legally from Ganja,” continued the Prime Minister. “The Maroon communities has  a certain discipline, a certain order, and a certain social system that will ensure that the crop is not used in illicit ways. I know that you've actually started a part of the programme but you are now awaiting the government's part of the project to come in. Within the first quarter of this year the Alternative Development Programme for  the small ganja farmers (will be up and running). I give my commitment that it will start.”
Prime Minister Andrew Holness

Shortly after the Prime Minister announced the Alternative Development Programme, one Jamaican Canadian firm promised the Maroon communities support in maximizing their ganja crops.  Timeless Herbal Care (THC) Jamaica Ltd  is one of the first companies to legally grow and harvest medical marijuana in Jamaica; its Jamaican Canadian CEO Courtney Betty is promising to help the Maroons maximize their harvest.  
“ The  Maroon ganja growers know their land and their crops like no other,” said Mr Betty. “What we offering the Maroons is access to our expertise in medical standards of  processing, research & development, and access to export markets.” Mr Betty’s company has assembled a team that includes the best doctors, scientists, researchers and growers to transform Jamaica into the medical marijuana hub for the world (the company has already made shipments to health authorities in Canada).


The Maroons descended from Africans who escaped from slavery and established free communities in the mountainous interior. To this day, the Maroons are autonomous and separate from Jamaican culture.  The four official Maroon towns still in existence in Jamaica are Accompong Town, Moore Town, Charles Town and Scott's Hall. They hold lands allotted to them by treaty from the British in 1740. These communities still maintain their traditional celebrations and practices, some of which have West African origins.