Industrial Hemp, medical marijuana to be explored at major Caribbean conference

The Institute for Caribbean Studies (ICS) says that industrial hemp and medical marijuana will be explored this week at a major Caribbean conference in Washington, D.C.

The Washington D.C-based institute is urging the public to join Dennis Ramdahin, its agribsiness advisor, “as he brings his passion for all things Hemp” to the Invest Caribbean Agribusiness Forum on Nov. 17 to 18.

“ICS has been championing a hemp initiative since 2014, and the initiative is now being discussed in the Caribbean in several countries at the national level for policy amendment and research experimentation, leading up to enterprise development,” said Dr. Claire A. Nelson, the institute’s Jamaican-born founder and president on Saturday.

Nelson noted that industrial hemp is not a drug, unlike its cousin strain.

She said while the plant may look identical to marijuana, its but Tetrahydrocannabinol — known as THC — content is a mere 0.03 percent of what marijuana contains.

“This means it is practically impossible to use or trade industrial hemp as a drug, and smoking it will not create any toxic or hallucinating effect,” Dr, Nelson said.

“We anticipate former sugarcane lands in many islands that can be used for growing hemp, and when integrated with sugarcane, can generate a 30 percent sugar cane production increase,” she added.

Nelson said Hemp production “will feed directly” into processing of textiles, oils, high strength composites, food, hemp milk, and a list of other

viable commercial products and commodities, such as hempcrete.

She said hempcrete is a super high-strength concrete formulation for building houses and structures, that is much cheaper, stronger and lighter than traditional concrete, and eliminates the need for aggregates.

Nelson said the ICS has introduced Vihara Sustainable Solutions (U.S) and Textile and Composite Industries (Australia Pvt. Ltd) Joint Venture (VSS-TCI JV) as the technical experts on Industrial Hemp to advise Caribbean governments on formulating implementation plans for scalable contributions.

“Why not attend the upcoming Invest Caribbean 2016 on Nov. 17 to 18, and open the doors to the wider world and be in the vanguard of change to ‘Farm the Future,’ ” Nelson said.

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