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Epican eyes long-term stock exchange listing

BY HG HELPS
Editor-at-large
helpsh@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, May 26, 2019

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LISTING on the buoyant Jamaica Stock Exchange is something that the leaders of Jamaica's first licensed cannabis dispensary, Epican, are eyeing as the business develops.

Officials of the company told the Jamaica Observer in an interview last week that allowing Jamaicans to buy into the firm was something they would never rule out, although indications are that such a reality would not be in the near future.

“Yes, it is something that we are thinking about. Once we have all our plans rolled out — our farm locations, our exports, our retail locations and the true value is there — then we will definitely look at such a possibility as the stock market,” Epican President Dwayne McKenzie told the Sunday Observer.

Epican has a staff complement of 80 between the farm and outlet in the Corporate Area region, and a further 20 in Montego Bay where an outlet was opened earlier in May.

Apart from a possible listing on the Jamaica Stock Exchange, Epican has also attached binoculars to its plans for a major export push as soon as business kinks and bureaucratic hitches are flattened.

“We are doing our preparations in terms of getting our certification and facilities up and ready, but it's going to come down to the Government and its legislation. They are saying by the end of the year, but we have been waiting for over a year, so it really all comes down to when they get their things together,” McKenzie said of the export potential of the Jamaican herb and its by-products.

But what of the potential external markets? Are they in place?

“There have been lots of solicitation,” McKenzie disclosed. “As a cannabis-profound nation everybody wants to associate with the Jamaica brand. That gives us a bit of leverage and interest internationally for people who are already operating in the space to be able to be associated with the Jamaica brand, to gain access to the product,” he said.

“We in Jamaica must take care of what we have. We don't want things to be like in the past — foreigners come in and they see the value of something that we have, they reap the benefit of it, and when we start to see the benefit of it, it's too late and then we start to complain. We really need to push the education side of things now,” McKenzie argued.

“We will always grow our other crops, but cannabis is going to be the number one crop in Jamaica one day, based on the influx that's going to happen in the pharmaceutical industry eventually. We are not going to be able to grow enough,” McKenzie predicted, adding that “the Jamaican brand will stand out for us. Blue Mountain coffee has maintained its price. Once we get our quality right, we will not only be a recognised brand, but a premium brand internationally.”

McKenzie said that the number of people who smoke and those who prefer to vaporise is equally divided.


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