Sat | Mar 23, 2019

Ganja dispensary to woo tourists to Falmouth

Published:Friday | February 22, 2019 | 12:06 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:

Ganja investor Balram Vaswani is positioning a multimillion-dollar ganja enterprise in the resort town of Falmouth to tap into tourism interest in Jamaica’s embryonic medicinal marijuana market.

Kaya Herb House, a $33-million operation that was formally opened in the Trelawny capital on Wednesday, is targeting a May start to its strategic plan to woo cruise ship visitors who dock in Falmouth as well as other tourists from the north coast resort town of Montego Bay in St James.

“Within 90 days, we will be tapping 100 per cent into the cruise shipping market,” said Vaswani, the chief ganja officer for Kaya Herb House. “However, we think that our first foray into the cruise ship market is going to be through a new company called Kaya Tours.”

He said that the business plan would not solely concentrate on the prospects of medicinal marijuana, but would pitch ganja farming and enterprise as an educational adventure.

“Kaya Tours is going to be the educational arm of Kaya Herb House. It is going to bring tourists into the farm in Drax Hall to let them learn about the plant, first from the seed all the way through to the sales,” Vaswani told The Gleaner yesterday.

Kaya Herb House, which has so far invested more than $150 million in a research project, a cannabis farm, and two herb houses – one in Drax Hall, St Ann, and now in Falmouth – says that the Trelawny dispensary will help to stimulate economic growth and development in the northwestern parish.

“I am really happy as Kaya is investing in the actual town (Falmouth) and not on the cruise shipping pier,” said Vaswani. “I hope to see, in the next three to five years, Falmouth becoming a booming town, not only when cruise ships are in town, but every day.”

The Kaya Herb House is located at 1 Trelawny Street, close to Water Square, in the town centre and is less than a five-minute walk from the cruise ship pier.

“I am really proud as a Jamaican today to make an investment in Falmouth,” said Vaswani. “We are hoping that early in the year, we could also have Usain Bolt putting his museum next door. We are also looking to have the Jamaica Agricultural Society rebuild the building beside us and have more food and beverage in the town.”

Vaswani said that the Kaya Herb House is part of Falmouth’s evolving narrative from a sleepy seaside town to a major economic centre.

“We’ve already had investment from Kentucky Fried Chicken, and what we are going to see is that Falmouth will start to develop even more,” said Kaya’s point man.

Falmouth Mayor Collen Gager, who was present at Wednesday’s grand opening, said that he hopes it will bring pride and joy to the business landscape.

“As a country, we boast the best of everything, and the good-old sensimillia is no different,” said Gager, who is a municipal councillor for the Warsop division.

“With tourism being a major driver for the town of Falmouth, cannabis infusion into tourism is pivotal and provides myriad benefits.”

Citing that the Trelawny capital was “pregnant with tourism prospects”, Gager said that the “dispensary adds to Falmouth being a destination of choice”.

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