JMCC & Organic: A Natural Fit
The most important thing to JMCC as a company is producing high-quality, consistent medical cannabis for patients. With this goal always top of mind, it was a natural next step, after securing GMP certification, to pursue organic certification for our medical cannabis.
What is “organic” certification?
The idea of organic agriculture goes back to the early 20th century and the rise of the term “organic farming” to describe farms that chose to grow without the use of chemicals, and in an environmentally sustainable way. Today, to be designated as “organic”, a product must be farmed without the use of toxic or synthetic pesticides, and in a way that maintains soil fertility. The movement has an aversion to anything man-made, synthetic or genetically modified. This supports natural biodiversity within the growing environment and minimizes the environmental impact of many traditional farming practices. The organic process aims to feed into the agricultural eco-system at the same rate it takes out of it to maintain the integrity of the growing environment.
To be certified as organically produced cannabis, the product must meet the strict standards of an accredited certifier, including a guarantee that the entire cycle of growing and processing is following the principles of organic production. This, in juxtaposition to the pop-culture idea of a “hippy-managed”, relaxed, organic farm, means establishing stringent controls around every step of growing and processing, and a lengthy inspection and certification process. Every vendor, input and task must be tightly vetted, documented and controlled to ensure only natural products are being used throughout the process from start to finish.
There are certifying bodies around the world that deal with their own jurisdictions. JMCC’s operations in Jamaica will be certified by the National Certification Body of Jamaica (NCBJ), and North America’s Certification of Environmental Standards (CERES). However, the requirements are the same: document and prove the entire process, and then continue to manage and meet that consistent organic process.
Why certify medical cannabis as organic?
Organic products have become increasingly popular in recent years. People are buying organic more than ever, with 66% of Canadian shoppers, for example, buying organic products weekly. This marks a change in values to favour products that allow consumers to “vote with their shopping dollars” on the items they are consuming. The cannabis industry is no exception to this change in the market, especially for medical cannabis products, where it’s critically important to ensure products used to treat patients are also doing no harm to them.
For JMCC this is two sides of the same coin. Many patients are demanding more control over what goes into their bodies via the food, medicines and other substances they consume, and we want to produce the highest quality medical cannabis possible that will truly help patients. Certifying our product as organic means we can do both of these things. It allows us to put patients first by controlling every aspect of our production while keeping it as natural as possible.
As Josh Casson, Head of Quality and Special Projects says, achieving that challenging-to-acquire “Certified Organic” designation is a “natural next step” for JMCC.
Our stringent SOP and documentation process, required by GMP, and JMCC’s commitment to putting patients first mean that we have been “living that quality commitment” every day and every step of the way already, Josh explains. The other goal of organic farming, sustainability, has been a JMCC focus from the outset. One of the reasons our CEO, Diane Scott, chose Jamaica was the island’s optimal natural growing environment, which we strive to maintain as much as possible. For example, we grow in mesh-sided greenhouses to take advantage of Jamaica’s abundant sunshine, equal hours of daylight to darkness, and use harvested rainwater for irrigation.
Pandemic conditions permitting, we aim to deliver Certified Organic medical cannabis to our customers and patients by Q3 2021.