By Stephen Weir
Earlier this month a birthday party was held at the posh Windsor Arms Hotel along Toronto’s Mink Mile. And while the 50 or so guests were there to mark Jamaican Minister
’s 67th birthday, most in attendance also wanted to talk about medical ganja.
Members of Toronto’s black business and political communities came to the hotel to pass on good wishes to the senior Jamaican politician including Liberal leadership hopeful MPP Michael Coteau and Toronto Caribbean Carnival’s marketing guru Kal Juman. The Honourable Minister Audley Shaw is the Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Jamaica.
The evening was split into two sessions. There was a private dinner for the minister with guests of Timeless Herbal Care, a Jamaican grower and exporter of medical marijuana. The second part of the evening was an informal party in the hotel lounge with entertainment provided by reggae great Jay Douglas and his band.
Minister Shaw told the Caribbean Camera that he was in Toronto to take part in the Zeifman’s Business of Cannabis Conference. “Of course I love the party but I am here because I took part in a couple of sessions including looking at the future of Canada’s influence for cannabis business growth in Jamaica.”
Jamaica is the first Caribbean country to legalize the cultivation of medical marijuana, thanks to Minister Shaw and companies like Timeless Herbal Care (owned by Toronto lawyer Courtney Betty). Timeless Herbal Care, which organized the Friday night fete, has already begun to export pure medical Ganga from Jamaica to Canada
Jamaica is going through a shift in its agriculture base as the island looks to grow more crops for export to North America. On the table is an increase in the planting of mangos. And Minister Shaw hopes there will be more parties for the growth of Jamaican medical marijuana.
A few days after returning to Jamaica from Toronto, Minister Shaw announced that some 60,000 acres of former sugar-cane lands are to be placed into other areas of agricultural production.