Cannabis company Kaya has partnered with the National Environmental Planning Agency (NEPA) to be part of their Adopt-A-Beach program.

Just yesterday, the Kaya consortium of companies that include the herb house (cannabis dispensary), pizzeria, cafe, bar, juice bar, farms and processing plants kicked off Labor Day weekend with a beach cleaning interrupted by rain . There they collected 17 bags of debris and six bags of plastic bottles on Fisherman’s Beach in St. Ann’s Bay, St. Ann.

“We want to be part of something that matters to our coasts and the health and wellbeing of not only the ocean and life within us, but also to us and our future generations,” said Natesha Smith, Kaya Group Administration and Human resource manager.

Smith said that despite widespread awareness of marine pollution, not enough people are playing their part. “There are a number of pollutants in the ocean that casually began to flow from our shores, including the huge amount of plastic that is dumped in our oceans. Yet few people really know or understand how extremely dangerous they are to marine life and, inevitably, to us humans, ”said Smith.

Yesterday the small team of 10 people from Kaya removed debris scattered around the borders of Fisherman’s Beach, which attracts large numbers of children and is part of the regular tourist trails.

“This is our first environmental project, but by no means our last. Prior to this project, Kaya’s management team focused on other philanthropic activities that were more focused on feeding and helping the less fortunate, ”Smith told The Gleaner.

Her last philanthropic activity was in 2020 when Kaya hosted a pizza day activity in the Mustard Seed community, Jacob’s Ladder in St. Ann, according to health and safety protocols required by the Department of Health and Wellness.

SUPPORT IN MAINTAINING THE COASTLINE

Now, Kaya, who has been at the forefront of the medical ganja industry since 2015, saw the need for the company to help preserve the Jamaican coastline and take the opportunity to have its employees work outside of the office and participate in a significant activity in blacksmithing.

She took note of predictions from scientists who say that up to 90 percent of all coral reefs will disappear in the next 20 years, largely due to warming seawater, ocean acidity, and pollution. She said: “Can you imagine you have no ocean for our future generation, can’t you swim in the sea or lie in the sand because it is so polluted? It is for this reason that we have chosen to protect marine life and the ocean from pollution. “

Regarding the three fundamental principles of Jamaican culture on which the vertically integrated cannabis business is based, wisdom, pride and respect, she stated, “Our involvement in projects of this nature is such that we show that we respect our island and that we are we take great pride in helping keep it clean and have the wisdom to use the information around us and look for other ways to participate in or lead other environmental projects like this one. “

The cannabis company operates in three parishes – St. Ann, Kingston, and Trelawny – and each has a retail operation with cultivation and production subsidiaries operating out of St. Ann. In 2018, Kaya became the first medical cannabis brand from the Caribbean to open a medical marijuana herb house for the sale and consumption of cannabis on-site. Then in February 2020 they made the first commercial export of ganja oil to Cayman. With all of these notable achievements and more, including a franchise in Uruguay, Kaya felt it was important to focus on doing his part to “make a positive contribution to Jamaica’s efforts to create a sustainable environment,” affirmed Smith.

The beach cleanup was an eye opener for Smith and others on the team, but it was a success, and Kaya intends to grow the initiative and plans are already underway, she said.

“We have three additional cleanups on this beach for the year. The other dates are July 12th, September 13th and December 14th. The team and I and all employees were delighted to accept this environmental project and we are very much looking forward to it. With regard to Kingston and our other offices, we are working with NEPA in this regard and they will advise us accordingly. In the meantime, however, Kaya will conduct other philanthropic activities in these areas until we develop more environmental initiatives, ”said Smith.

In the future, they hope to involve the public and their customers. “When we started this initiative during the pandemic with the expansion of COVID-19 prevention measures under the Disaster Risk Management Act, we only had our employees. In the future, however, we will definitely be planning a customer engagement activity as soon as possible, once restrictions are further relaxed and the pandemic is over, ”she said.

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