I have to say that after attending many marijuana B2B conferences, the CanEx Jamaica conference was a tremendous standout for me. I am a very business focused individual having worked in the financial sector for 14 years. I’ve had the opportunity to scrutinize businesses closely and have seen the debacles of giant corporations like Enron, I have seen massive Fortune 500 companies like GE become penny stocks and then bounce back again. I see businesses like Facebook growing too fast for their own good and seen their users suffer for it. The largest fundamental error businesses make these days is focusing on growing as fast as possible. Exclusively focusing on making shareholders happy means that you may be missing out on the bigger picture in how to make your business sustainable over time. These companies over leverage themselves with debt and force their consumers to make the sacrifice so that the executives can desperately try and keep the company ahead on paper.

While at the CanEx Jamaica convention in Montego Bay though, I saw companies doing it the right way. One of the major topics of conversation was corporate social responsibility, what is commonly abbreviated as CSR. I had the opportunity to speak with Stephen Riviere, the president of The Hanover Herb Farmers Cooperative, a group representing the small farmers of Jamaica. One member of the cooperative, a passionate man speaking for the Rastafarian faith in Jamaica, argued that marijuana was the gold of Jamaica. He contended that generation after generation of Jamaican ganja farmers have been persecuted and looked down upon for their love of the marijuana plant and that now that Jamaica has decided that it wants to embrace the marijuana industry, they should not leave out these communities of farmers. It was touching to see the marijuana businesses executives we met echoing this belief as well. It was a sharp contrast to what we see here in the US where those that have participated in the illicit market for generations are being shunned and turned away.

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I met Paul Glavine, the President of Global Canna Labs, a licensed medical marijuana cultivation center in Jamaica. He is focused on hiring local Jamaican farmers to work on his grows. After three and half years of work, the facility, only a ten minute drive from where cruise ships dock in Montego Bay, is full of juvenile plants that should be reaching maturity over the next few months. I had the opportunity to tour their facility and what stood out to me above all else were the Jamaican employees that were working tirelessly and passionately on growing these cannabis plants and seemed grateful to be a part of it. They also offered me the best jerk chicken I have ever had in my life.

LGC Capital, Global Canna Labs, CanEx Jamaica, John McMullen, Zimmer Global, T'Shura GibbsGlobal Canna Labs has partnered with LGC Capital (OTC: :LGGCF), an international cannabis company with properties in Canada, Switzerland, Italy, Australia and obviously Jamaica as well. The CEO of LGC Capital, John McMullen, was also in attendance at the conference. An incredibly approachable gentleman, Mr. McMullen expressed a strong belief in corporate social responsibility. He encourages employing local Jamaican marijuana farmers and embraces the culture in Jamaica. When I asked Mr. McMullen why he was investing in Jamaica, this is what he had to say. “There are two levels, one is that you have obviously the history, the culture, and the knowledge. The world knows Jamaican cannabis, ganja. We have invested in one of the few tier 3 operations here {in Montego Bay}, it is 6.2 acres. What is important is they are able to grow sun-grown organic product that is available for domestic markets and soon global markets. Jamaica is a brand that we believe will be renowned and well received around the world. What we do at LGC is invest in local operations globally, so it is by Jamaicans for Jamaica. We like to say that we are bringing the lion back to the world.”

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Vincente Fox, the former president of Mexico was a keynote speaker at the event and even took time to have a one-on-one interview with us. He spoke his mind about the devastating impacts of marijuana prohibition not only in his home country of Mexico but also the world. He has referred to himself as a soldier for the worldwide marijuana legalization movement. Another of the keynote speakers was the CEO of the largest cannabis company in the world, Bruce Linton of Canopy Growth Corporation. If anyone in the cannabis space should be discussing CSR, it would be Mr. Linton. His company’s growth has been astonishing and Bruce Linton spoke about CSR from the perspective of a company executive, explaining that if a company utilizes best practices and keeps consumers first then it has the ability of enriching a community with jobs, philanthropy, local taxes and quality products. A company that focuses on a business plan surrounding these concepts rather than one that is intent on its own growth should be executing its CSR as a by-product of these sorts of best practices.

As an agricultural commodity, Jamaica has the opportunity to capitalize on its perfect environment for cannabis growing. As of now, it does not seem like money hungry corporations are focused solely on their bottom line and cutting out the little guy in Jamaica. Instead people with money and business knowledge are bringing in the infrastructure necessary for Jamaica to capitalize on this new acceptance of the cannabis plant. It seems very different than the current businesses practices here in the United States that will cut corners wherever they possibly can to make shareholders happy instead of utilizing age-old fundamental business practices and looking to build for the long-term.

Beyond marijuana, Jamaica is also famous for its Blue Mountain coffee. We spoke with a number of coffee cultivators including one that is planning on using a Global Canna Labs strain to infuse their coffee. Marijuana is bringing much more to the economic table than just cannabis sales to the people of Jamaica. Some estimates suggest that the legal marijuana industry in Jamaica will double the annual household income of the people of Jamaica. The CanEx Jamaica conference put marijuana in a new perspective for us. Zimmer Global was a sponsor of CanEx and born by the convention from three years ago. Setup as the main distributor of cannabis for the Caribbean, Zimmer Global has an unprecedented opportunity to make Jamaica the main hub for cannabis throughout the Caribbean and Trinidad.

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Montego Bay, Jamaica

We cannot thank the founder of CanEx Jamaica, Douglas Gordon, enough for having TNMNews at the convention and creating an opportunity for our followers to learn more about the international marijuana industry. CanEx had companies representing over 22 countries attending and available for us to speak with. On the international stage there is a large focus on Europe with its over 700 million population. These companies know that Europe is where the real money can come into Jamaica. The conference also hosted many fantastic networking opportunities with engagements at Lounge 2727 on the famous Hip Stip and also the Tryall Club. These were all beautiful locations with scenic views of the island where attendees were ready to network and find out how to make the industry better. I invite all of you to make plans for next year’s CanEx Jamaica convention. Go see a world of business that is embracing marijuana legalization and the true potential of the cannabis industry.