Mocho seeks a slice of the ganja pie
A group from the community of Mocho in Clarendon is putting big hopes on breaking the poverty cycle by cashing in on the ganja industry.
Havelock Binns, a farmer from Stewarton, and Anthony Barrette, an entrepreneur, say they hope to use the Mocho Ganja Growers' Association as their vehicle to access the weed market.
"This will be like we bingo up here in Mocho ... . I am happy because I was thinking only the big player was going to be involved in this new industry and this is why I am hoping it will be a reality soon," Binns said.
Similarly, Barrette believes that accessing the multibillion-dollar cannabis market would be a great opportunity for community.
Meanwhile, councillor Romaine Morris, who is leading the efforts to ensure that the group gets the appropriate licences to grow ganja, said the farmers hope to get bauxite lands to do this.
"I am hopeful that Jamalco will partner with us. Also, to obtain the approval of the licences will be a challenge, but I am hopeful," he said.
Citing the high unemployment in the division, with the primary source of earning being small-scale farming, Morris said that getting a foothold in the ganja industry is just what the community needs.
Last August, agriculture minister Audley Shaw said he gave instruction for the Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) to put in place a licensing regime that caters specifically to small-scale ganja farmers.
He said that he instructed the CLA to develop a licensing system that would be less stringent in terms of the capital that investors in the fledgling medical ganja industry are required to put up in order to qualify for licences.