Last summer, big players in cannabis agriculture, like the Canadian conglomerate Aphria Inc. (NASDAQ: APHA), couldn’t take the Caribbean heat and got out of the kitchen.
Aphria, who acquired a Jamaican licensed cultivator in 2018 to get ahead of an expected production boom in Jamaica, left the island in 2020, abandoning its assets. The big ag player, along with a handful of other Canadian companies, like the producer The Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd. (OTC: TGODF), invested in the island as the Jamaican government announced a push to complete comprehensive trade and export regulations for medicinal cannabis.
The agreements, coupled with Jamaica’s astonishingly cost-effective production potentials, spelled a cannabis gold rush on the island and a definitive answer to solve prohibitive supply issues in legal markets around the world.
But the COVID-19 pandemic temporarily stalled the legislation, and companies like Aphria and The Dutchman, saddled with struggling Canadian operations, were forced to sell their Jamaican assets even as the prospect for a cannabis boom on the island remained certain, if not a bit further off. Now, Jamaican export legislation, expected to be finalized in mid-2021, is back on track, and the global industry’s need for a solution to quell supply shortages remains.
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