The fifth iteration of Douglas Gordon’s CanEx exhibition and conference featured talks by legacy and legal cultivators alike. Local ganja-related arts and crafts vendors filled the expo hall while stakeholders led panels at the Montego Bay Convention Center on September 15-17 in Jamaica.
The expo hall’s marketplace featured natural products, including chalices made from calabash (coconut shells); rolling papers made from the stalks of cannabis plants by local artisan The Third Angel Ltd.; cannabis-infused soaps and oils by Queen I; and a plethora of additional handicrafts, as well as Ganja tour company operator Yeah Mon Tours.
Meanwhile, the main hall featured a keynote from Wanda James, the first African American woman to own a marijuana dispensary in the United States. James was later presented with a CanEx award. During the awards presentation emcee Gordon joked, “Wanda James finally returns my phone calls.”
The CanEx Awards were hosted by the legendary, late recording artist Peter Tosh’s daughter, Niambe Tosh. After presenting an explanation of Tosh’s impactful musical and political legacy, Gordon announced the award winners.
The Peter Tosh Award was given to recording artist Bushman. The Visionary Award was given to corporate and M&A attorney Robert “Bob” Hoban of Clark Hill law group. The Global Good Award was presented to cannabis cultivator and hotelier Wabba Clayton. The Global Good Award recognizes Clayton’s contributions to the industry in the role of cultivation and as a small business operator.
Clayton is a Brighton-based legacy farmer, principal of the Blue Hole Mineral Spring, and CEO of Wabba’s Weed, Adventures and Tours. He thanked his mother and Jesus Christ for his talent and livication to the plant. Earlier in the day, Clayton happily gave out samples of his latest strain, Purple Wabba, and demonstrated how to consume cannabis flower using an ital steam chalice.
Next, Clayton sat down with Cannabis Now for a fireside chat. During the interview, Clayton expressed how his family used to be so impoverished after his father’s death that his mother, who taught him how to cultivate ganja, used to have to break a pencil in half for his brother and him to share to do their homework. Currently, as a self-made entrepreneur, he employs several young people in his community through his various cannabis-related endeavors.
The CanEx Lifetime Award was presented to keynote speaker Wanda James. “I’m not old enough to receive a Lifetime Achievement award,” James joked.
She referred to the Jamaican Cannabis Industry as “a beautiful example of resistance.”
Alexandra Chong, who stated previously in blog posts that all was hunky dory at her cannabis company Jacana, changed her tune during her fireside chat. She relayed that her company, similar to other Jamaican cannabis companies, faces logistical hurdles.
The Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) is the governing body mandated to issue vertically integrated “Tier 1” licenses in Jamaica. The CLA is once again under new leadership. LeVaughn Flynn disclosed exclusively o Cannabis Now that he is stepping down as Chairman, and Ms. Daenia Ashpole is currently at its helm as CEO. Ashpole was in attendance at CanEx and the CLA had a booth in the expo hall.
CanEx version six is currently in the planning stages. The conference will continue to expand, foster dialogue and attempt to uplift the Jamaican cannabis industry.