Business

Credit unions could help finance medical cannabis industry — Shaw

BY HORACE HINES
Observer staff reporter

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

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Noting that credit unions in Canada are providing the medical cannabis industry with financial support, Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Audley Shaw has said credit unions in Jamaica might have to follow suit.

“I am saying that the credit unions are involved in banking of cannabis in Canada and I am saying to you, you might very well have to be part of that process here,” Shaw said.

He explained that the credit unions could fill the financial void created by banks which are afraid to offer financial support of the industry over concerns of de-risking.

“The process, by the way, is not about violating any law, it's about providing an opportunity outside of the main banks that maybe are concerned about the immediate problems of de-risking in terms of the international situation,“ Shaw argued.

He was speaking at the Jamaica Credit Union League's 77th Annual General Meeting and Convention at the Hilton Rose Hall Hotel and Spa in St James on Friday night.

The convention was held under the theme: 'Re-imaging and moving forward together'.

Meanwhile, the agriculture minister noted that there are growing interests, including prospective industrial hemp growers, in taking up plans to put idle Government lands to use.

“And the good news is there is a lot of interest in the idle lands that we have. Including, by the way, marginal lands; some of it is highly saline content, some of it a little swampy maybe. But there are some for the people who want marginal lands because what they want to produce can be produced on marginal lands. That includes, by the way, industrial hemp. Yes, industrial hemp,” Shaw argued.

Shaw congratulated the Jamaica Credit Union League “for celebrating 77 years of service”.

“Today, with some 28 member credit unions coming down from 100, over 1,000,000 members and total savings deposits of $80 billion, assets of $104 billion, loan portfolio of some $71 billion, certainly [we are] on good footing to continue its work of enhancing the economic advancement of your customers and your members,” Shaw said.

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