Tag Archives: medical marijuana

The Trailblazing T`Shura Gibbs

Panache Mag October 2018 D2_Page_01

Interview by Tricia Williamson

Our cover girl, T’Shura Gibbs, has served for almost twenty years in the airline industry getting her start with AJAS Aviation Services then Avianca Airlines where she served as General Manager for Jamaica before joining US Airways as Station Manager for several Caribbean Islands. She then switched industries, moving on to Jamaica’s sole electricity distributor, JPS, where served as Regional Director with responsibility for almost half of the island. After five highly successful years at JPS, T’Shura decided to trade “kilowatts for CBD” and took up the role as CEO of Zimmer and Co. She is the former President of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry and sits on the Operations Board of Junior Achievement Jamaica, the CanEx Jamaica Advisory Board and is the Executive Director of the I Love MoBay Foundation.

PANACHE: What exactly makes T’Shura Gibbs tick?
T’Shura Gibbs: Knowing that I am able to make a difference in the lives of so many people; knowing that we are creating jobs and adding to our country’s economic growth is enough to get me going.

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PANACHE: What motivated you- a former regional director for an energy company to decide to get into the cannabis industry?
T’Shura: The tremendous medical benefits; I first learned about the health benefits of medicinal cannabis in 2015. In 2017 at the CanEx conference I seized the opportunity to participate in the industry after realizing the extent to which the medicine could change and improve lives and what I saw to be a significant opportunity within the Caribbean.

PANACHE: What product/ service is your company Zimmer & Co focused on now? Where can Jamaicans and travellers to Jamaica find them?
T’Shura: Zimmer is a health and wellness distribution business that right now is focused on hemp-based CBD products. Our products are available in pharmacies island wide. Some products require a prescription, therefore, requiring a visit to a doctor.

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PANACHE: Given that your company distributes a range of medicinal cannabis products what has that retail experience been like for you both success and challenges?
T’Shura: One of the biggest challenges is the stigma associated with cannabis and the lack of education from both end users and medical practitioners surrounding the medicinal benefits of cannabis. We have embarked on a campaign to educate both groups which have been effective. We consider it a tremendous success every time we get a story from one of our customers about the difference the medicine has made in their lives. Hearing an individual go from living a life of discomfort and pain to happily enjoy their days and moments after taking our products gives me a huge sense of satisfaction and fulfillment.

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PANACHE: What would you say differentiates your business from other cannabis companies?
T’Shura: In Jamaica, many of the companies are focused on cultivation while we focus on finished products. While some are developing the input and commodity that is medicinal grade cannabis and its various extracts, we are focused on finished products and in the process lead the way in terms of educating the medical fraternity and our target audiences about medicinal cannabis, its uses, effectiveness, and medical properties. Additionally, as a licensed distribution pharmacy; we have opted to specialize in medicinal cannabis.

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PANACHE: You’ve received a US $1M investment into Zimmer & Co, can you tell us what that investment will be used for?
T’Shura: Our investment will fund working capital and the expansion of our product portfolio and the markets in which we operate.

PANACHE: What are the challenges you think the industry in Jamaica/Caribbean faces financially/ legally or opportunities that need to be pursued to truly move forward?
T’Shura: The major industry challenges include: banking issues; not enough governmental support for small farmers to enable them to fully participate in the industry, lack of education surrounding growing cannabis for medicinal purposes and speed. This industry is the fastest growing globally and is evolving daily. We salute the recent moves by the Jamaican Government but Caribbean governments on a whole need to move faster and more purposefully if we are to secure the collective benefits that exist for our region.

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PANACHE: How can Jamaica’s formal cannabis market, now in its nascent stages, ensure that everyone (from the ground up) truly benefits?
T’Shura: The legal cannabis industry holds the promise of tremendous economic benefit for Jamaica. First it offers a significant source of additional tax revenues, but more compelling is the transformative power it holds when a fully engaged industry sees the benefit of the job creation and all the attendant economic benefits that come with opening up a thriving economic sector – people buying houses, renting apartments, purchasing cars, eating at restaurants, investing in the stock market, etc. The potential economic impact of this industry to Jamaica and the direct improvement it will make to the quality of lives of so many Jamaicans warrants the attention and focus it has started to receive from the Government, JAMPRO, the Economic Growth Council and other entities charged with driving growth in the country.

PANACHE: What’s your ultimate goal for Zimmer & Co in 3 to 5 years?
T’Shura: We expect to be a major player in the industry shipping products globally and providing world-leading work environment and culture.

PANACHE: We have noted that in addition to CanEx 2018 you are also a guest speaker at the Doing Power Differently Breakfast workshop on October 28 in Kingston Jamaica. Why is it important for persons to attend each of those events that you are headlining?
T’Shura: Ongoing education is key to our personal and professional development. We all have our individual stories and experiences that we can share to help others along the journey of life. CanEx 2018 was a huge success with delegates from 22 countries present; Doing Power Differently is already sold out.

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PANACHE: As a working mom and entrepreneur/ CEO how to do balance it all?
T’Shura: Balancing is hard; so I try to integrate the two. I am fortunate to have a strong support system and with the advent of video calling, I am able to do homework via WhatsApp. I have two young sons (and two older daughters) who hang out in the ‘chill corner’ at my office when I am there on weekends. They stop by the office on the way home from school when I am working late and I try to take them to and from school and extra-circular activities as much as I can.

PANACHE: What is your mantra? What motivates you?
T’Shura: Our Vision, ‘Helping People. Changing Lives.’ Is not just a four letter word, it is something I believe in.

PANACHE: Any final thoughts?
T’Shura: Thank you for this opportunity. I hope our readers will conduct their own research into medicinal cannabis and in particular CBD, and talk to their doctor or pharmacist about the benefits of these products.

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Kaya & Jamaica’s medical ganja industry

Jamaica’s medical ganja industry takes ‘historic step’ with Kaya

Chairman of Kaya Farms, Balram Vaswani, has said that sister company, Kaya Herbhouse is set to officially open its doors in March to the Jamaican public and visitors to the island, who are interested in sampling its offerings of medical marijuana and related products.

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In making the announcement on Tuesday, Vaswani said persons wishing to purchase ganja and ganja products must comply with one of four regulations.

“We remain in compliance with the rules enacted by the Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA), and persons will be able to legally purchase marijuana for medicinal purposes while also being able to experience the Kaya Herbhouse and Kaya Café,” Vaswani said in a press release.

The development comes as Vaswani’s Kaya Farms – which is home to the country’s first legal medical cannabis dispensary – harvested its first crop.

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The first official ‘cut’ and harvest took place on Tuesday in the presence of Augustus Staples, Chief Executive Officer of the CLA, at Kaya Farms in Drax Hall, St Ann.

According to a press release, the plants from the harvest will be cured, trimmed and packaged for sale to Kaya Herbhouse in St Ann for the first sale to medical patients, and ‘Everything Oily’ for processing. This it said satisfies the tripartite agreements signed to ensure a closed loop system for the sale of marijuana as enacted in the Dangerous Drugs (Cannabis Licensing) Regulations.

The press release said the regulations allow for the sale and use of ganja for specific reasons, namely in accordance with the written recommendation or prescription of a registered medical practitioner, for consumption on the premises or for the provision of therapeutic services utilising ganja.

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“I am truly honoured as a Jamaican to make the historic step where our country can finally monetise on this industry as Europe, Australia, India, China, and the US have already done,” said Vaswani.

According to the release, Kaya’s goal is to make Jamaica the flagship of the global wellness tourism industry and become the new symbol of the island’s roots and lifestyle.

Source: http://www.loopjamaica.com/content/jamaicas-medical-ganja-industry-takes-historic-step-kaya


‘Got To Have Kaya Now’ – Marley Son Advocates With Bob’s Slang

In the 40th year since the release of Bob Marley’s romantic album Kaya, the legend’s slang for cannabis has become a branding tool in the ongoing campaign to legalise the herb. Many of the sons of the global reggae icon have put action to Tuff Gong’s long-standing cannabis advocacy.

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Rohan Marley of Marley Coffee (left) and Balram Vaswani, chairman of Kaya Inc, cutting the ribbon to the Kaya Café at the grand opening, recently.

Stephen, Ziggy, Ky-mani, Julian, and Damian Marley will headline the second annual, all-ages Kaya Fest, named after the 1978 album. The music festival relocated from Miami, Florida, to San Bernardino, California, where the festival can benefit from the state’s legalisation of cannabis for recreational use. The two-day concert will also feature guests Toots and the Maytals, Lauryn Hill, Cypress Hill, and Tom Morello.

“He would be at the forefront of this movement for people to know the herb. It’s in his nature, where he come from,” Stephen said in an interview with Rollingstone Magazine. In 2016, the family launched Marley Natural, a name brand for various strains of cannabis, pipes, hempseed body wash, and other products.

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“You see marijuana becoming legal. You see his legacy has taken on more importance because of what he has been telling people for years. ‘Hey, I told you so!’ So the legacy has grown another step,” Damian added.

BOLD MOVES

Also making bold moves is the entrepreneurial son, Rohan Marley. As of last weekend, Ocho Rios, St Ann, became home to Kaya Farms, the first legal medical cannabis dispensary in the English-speaking Caribbean. Kaya Farms and sister companies Kaya Herbhouse, Kaya Spa, Kaya CafÈ, and Kaya Tours plan to offer a variety of services for Jamaicans and tourists, including the sale of marijuana for medicinal and therapeutic purposes.

Participating in the grand opening event last weekend was Balram Vaswani, chairman and chief ganja officer at Kaya Farms and his associate Rohan, chairman of Marley Coffee.

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“It’s great when what is naturally produced here, the herb, can become a business and drive the economy. So it’s never too late, and that’s why it’s happening right now,” Rohan said during the launch. He accompanied Vaswari in the official ribbon-cutting ritual.

“For me, the journey has been extremely long. This is an economic change for Jamaica. With this product, we have a chance for it to be a product of Jamaica, made in Jamaica, where we can control the start to finish. This could be an export. This can bring in revenue and wealth creation and help small farmers all the way up to large companies – not only farmers but auxiliary businesses, carpenters, plumbers, bartenders, etc,” Vaswani said.

Guests are welcome to tour Kaya Farms and its processing facility and kick back inside Kaya CafÈ, which exclusively carries Marley Coffee.

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Guests to Kaya Farms are able to purchase various strains available and legally purchase medicinal marijuana, once proper documentation as required by the Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) has been provided. The regulations outlined by the CLA allow for the sale and use of marijuana in limited quantities and for specific reasons, namely, in accordance with the written recommendation or prescription of a registered medical practitioner, for consumption on the premises, or for the provision of therapeutic services utilising ganja.

Kaya Farms’ grand opening closed with a concert featuring Ky-mani Marley, Keznamdi, Jah 9, and Toots and the Maytals.

Source: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/entertainment/20180318/got-have-kaya-now-marley-son-advocates-bobs-slang


Ganja Company Kaya To List On Toronto Stock Exchange

Kaya Inc, a licensed ganja business in Jamaica that opened its first ganja cafe in Ocho Rios in March, is going public in Canada and will list on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Under the transaction, Kaya will enact a “reverse takeover” with a listed company called Buzz Capital.

The takeover also comes with a separate plan to raise CAD$8.5 million of which CAD$5.5 million is being sought from institutional investors, while another entity called HIKU Brands has already agreed to provide backing of CAD$3 million, said Kaya Inc CEO and founder Balram Vaswani.

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The Kaya brand is framed on a shirt worn by Owen ‘JahJah’ Warren, chief grower at Kaya Farms, during the March 10 opening event for Kaya’s operations in St Ann. Kaya is merging with another company called Buzz Capital and will list on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The listing is being preceded by a series of transactions, which will see Kaya merging with Buzz. The latter company was formed in 2017 and listed on the TSX Venture Exchange in the same year, with the intent of being utilised as a vehicle for a takeover.

Buzz issued a letter of intent about the transaction earlier this month indicating that the companies would finalise their negotiations and secure a deal by April 15. It will result in Kaya shareholders owning nearly nine-tenths of the amalgamated shares.

Vaswani told the Financial Gleaner that the ganja authority in Jamaica was abreast of the dealings to list overseas.

“All contemplated transactions are subject to oversight and approval of the Cannabis Licensing Authority. This includes both Jamaican ownership and directorship exceeding 50 per cent at all times,” he said.

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“We will continue to work with all governing bodies as we continue to build a Jamaican brand that can extend beyond the shores of our island. This will give all Jamaicans access to invest and participate in a transparent regulated industry,” said the ganjapreneur via email.

The structure of the takeover deal involves Buzz enacting a reduction in its ordinary shareholding from 8.2 million to 4.1 million units followed by a name change from Buzz to Kaya Inc; then the exchange of all issued and outstanding shares of Kaya for common shares of the resulting entity; followed by the exchange of all issued and outstanding Kaya options and warrants for shares of the new entity.

The resulting company is expected to have 43 million issued shares “of which approximately 89 per cent will be held by the current shareholders of Kaya, and 11 per cent by the existing shareholders of Buzz”, according to a press release on the transaction.

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Kaya reaped the first legal harvest for sale last month in the presence of the Cannabis Licensing Authority. This harvest will feed the stock of the store or herbhouse, the first of which opened in St Ann.

The costs associated with the development of the cafe, dispensary, and farm to date have surpassed J$76 million.