The Largest Medical Cannabis Farm in Jamaica is Run by a Newfoundlander
There have been many global companies racing to capitalize since the decriminalization of cannabis in Jamaica in 2015. To date, one of largest contracts obtained in the country is by Canada’s Global Canna Labs, headed by a Newfoundlander named Paul Glavine.
On April 26th, Vice News Tonight aired a segment called Jamaican Weed Exploitation. Reporter Dexter Thomas visited Jamaica to address concerns by the likes of Ras Iyah V—a cannabis activist and CLA board member—of who is actually profiting off the green rush in the Jamaican medical marijuana industry.
“I’m not saying all of these investors coming in are evil,” Ras Iyah V told Thomas. “I’m just saying most of these coming in are concerned with money. About making money out of an industry that our people have suffered for.”
As featured in the Vice News Tonight report, many local farmers believe the structure of decriminalization has favoured foreign investment. The high costs of growing and distribution licenses have left many of the smalltime farmers struggling to compete.
Newfoundland’s Paul Glavine, President of Global Canna Labs, rebutted to Thomas that his investment—the first Tier-3 cultivation license in Jamaica—intends to benefit the local business community.
“My Dad’s family, a lot of his brothers, they were down in the Caribbean doing a lot of things with fibre optics,” Glavine said. “I always looked that this could be my big business that I start down here, and I love cannabis, I love consuming it.”
To protect the industry from being run strictly by foreign investment, Jamaican law requires Global Canna Labs to share 51% of its profits with a local business partner.
“I’ve sort of embedded myself into a lifestyle and culture here, and I’m living here,” Glavine explained. “So it’s not like I’m coming from a foreign country and putting money in and sucking everything out and leaving today.”
“I’m here to stay.”
With a quick look into Global Canna’s team, 5 of the 8 publicized positions are occupied by Jamaican staff.
Paul Glavine, who studied at both Memorial University in Newfoundland and Georgian College in Ontario, has a background in the tech industry, and is the co-founder of the Canadian Clinical Cannabinoids, a Toronto-based Bio-tech company established in 2013. According to a LinkedIn profile, CCC has “a focus on encapsulated medicine,” with a “team that has a strong core of business executives and phd researchers with over a combined 35 years in cannabinoid research through university partnerships around the world.”
Upon further examination, Glavine isn’t the only alumni of Memorial University involved in the company. Genevieve Dixon, Human Resources for Global Canna, holds a diploma in Forestry from MUN.
Global Canna Lab’s current Tier-3 cultivation license from the Jamaica Cannabis Licensing Agency allows a 270, 000 square foot facility within over 6 acres of land in Montego Bay.
According to their corporate mission statement, GCL is “committed to meeting needs of medical cannabis patients using proven methodologies and advanced technologies,” and state they are “strategically positioned with local partners for packaging and distribution for global supply chain.”
While the exact localized benefits of foreign investment will continue to be under scrutiny, developmental projects such as these by Global Canna show no signs of slowing down.
“Global Canna is the Caribbean’s largest medical producer,” GCL stated. “Jamaica is positioned for global leadership in the industry.”