Jamaica's medical cannabis program is finally underway after the country's Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) has granted its first two permits to medical canna-businesses. Epican Medicinals received a license to grow cannabis legally, and Everyting Oily Labs Limited received a license to process raw cannabis into oil. The two companies signed a tripartite agreement with the CLA in which Everyting Oily agreed to only purchase cannabis from Epican until other licensed cultivators are ready for operation.

The CLA has received well over 200 applications for medical cannabis licenses since they started accepting them last summer, but to date only these two licenses have been granted. But now that these companies have received an official green light, “Epican can start growing tomorrow” and “Everyting Oil can start producing,” said CLA chairperson Hyacinth Lightbourne. “We had to make sure the tripartite agreement and other issues were handled. Those have now been issued, and we signed the tripartite today, and so they are free to operate tomorrow," she explained.

"My facility is all up and running since a year ago, and we just have to wait now for Epican, which is the other licensed to cultivate the ganja because it's a closed-loop system,” said Rory Liu, CEO of Everyting Oily, to the Jamaica Gleaner. “So they are the only ones I can currently deal with, and when the other cultivators come online, then there will be agreements with them, too, to buy ganja.”

“All I am going to be doing is processing and working with other cultivators,” Liu explained. “So the raw ganja, I'll turn that into oil that then can be mixed into tinctures, sublinguals, topicals, lotions, and stuff like that, and any other medicinal items. I will more so sell in bulk so another licensed processor could buy the [ganja] oil in bulk, or if you are a spa you can buy it in bulk and then mix it into your own lotions, and stuff like that, for therapeutic purposes, if you have your formula."

Epican has announced that they wish to become more heavily involved in the cannabis industry, beyond simply growing the plant. "The license we received is to cultivate, so we can begin setting up plants and growing,” said Karibe McKenzie, CEO of Epican. “Our company will be doing our own processing and retailing also, eventually, when we get those licenses. We have three more we are waiting on – processing, retail, and research and development."