My dear friends and alumni,
Drug policy reform is not just an issue within our own borders. Jamaica is making great strides to legitimize the use of cannabis in its country. After decades of harsh drug laws, this famous Caribbean island has decriminalized small amounts of cannabis, established a licensing agency called the CLA, or Cannabis Licensing Authority, and is in the process of setting up regulations for the cultivation, distribution, manufacturing, transportation and consumption of medical cannabis.
Oaksterdam University is pleased to be partnering with various Jamaican organizations to provide guidance regarding medical cannabis regulation best practices as well as to educate those who are interested in working within this nascent enterprise. As Jamaica moves forward, we all realize the importance of implementing the needs and considerations of local farmers who have been growing cannabis for years as well as the needs of patients, caregivers, and anyone involved in the industry.
Embracing cannabis is a great thing for Jamaica. The country has earnestly worked to establish serious fiscal plans, adopt practical macroeconomic policies, and create a friendly climate for outside investors. Perhaps the immediate opportunity for economic growth lies in ‘ganja tourism’ or ‘health and wellness tourism,’ which has the potential to provide the same kind of economic success that has occurred in states like Colorado and Washington.
How the cannabis industry will evolve in Jamaica is still to be seen; based on our involvement to date, we believe it will be very positive. An example of this is evident in the upcoming Rastafari Rootzfest™ to be held in Negril, Jamaica, from December 9 to 11 later this year. Featuring exhibits, food, Rastafari music, educational seminars, the Ganjamaica Cup™, and more. The festival is approved by the Ministry of Justice and endorsed by the Negril Chamber of Commerce and the Westmoreland Hemp & Ganja Farmers Association.
At its core, Rastafari Rootzfest is focused on the mobilization, education and connection of the country’s legitimate and emerging cannabis industry. Oaksterdam is pleased to be the main festival sponsor and will be conducting educational seminars during the event. If you’ve dreamed of visiting Jamaica, attending the Rastafari Rootzfest would certainly be a great introduction to the indigenous Rastafari culture, Jamaica’s ganja, and the country’s wellness legacy.
If you’re looking for educational opportunities closer to home, we’re headed to Las Vegas in November and to New York in December to host horticultural seminars. OU seminars fill quickly and we’re excited to meet lots of experienced and novice growers while we’re on the road.
There’s much happening around the world and we look forward to meeting new students and seeing OU graduates at Expo’s in Mexico, Uruguay, Colombia and Jamaica! Please stop by to see us when we are in your nation and remember to stay focused, stay positive, and stay educated!
Dr. Aseem Sappal
Provost & Dean of the Faculty