Jamaican born Vivianne Wilson is truly an inspiration for Caribbean women. Wilson is the first to tell you her life isn’t a fairy tale. Her story is a journey of perseverance, dedication and her deep roots.
Her journey from her home country to Toronto, Canada has been remarkable. Part of that journey focused on the importance and value of community.
In Jamaica, she grew up with people who taught her that voice had power–even just a single, small voice. That community laid the foundation for what her brand, GreenPort represents.
Wilson is the first Black woman who is an independent owner and operator of a licensed Canadian cannabis retail business. She said her company aims to bring diversity to this sector.
Wilson wants to focus on the community, consciousness and integrity. She believes that her business must be a voice to the voiceless.
“We’re celebrating the history of the plant. We’re recognizing and celebrating the people who introduced this plant to the world. At GreenPort, we’re giving a voice to the voiceless by bringing much needed representation into the Canadian market because currently it does not exist.”
Wilson said in an interview with the Toronto Star
The Jamaican Connection
In the video below, Profiling with Trey – speaks to Vivianne Wilson & Matt Maurer about the roots of the plant and challenges.
Cannabis in Canada
Cannabis in Canada is legal for both recreational and medicinal purposes. Medicinal use of cannabis was legalized nationwide under conditions outlined in the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations, later superseded by the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations, issued by Health Canada and seed, grain, and fibre production was permitted under licence by Health Canada. The federal Cannabis Act came into effect on 17 October 2018 and made Canada the second country in the world, after Uruguay, to formally legalize the cultivation, possession, acquisition and consumption of cannabis and its by-products. Canada is the first G7 and G20 nation to do so.
Cannabis was originally prohibited in 1923 until regulated medical cannabis became legal on 30 July 2001. In response to popular opinion, the legislation to legalize cannabis for recreational use (Cannabis Act, Bill C-45) was passed by the House of Commons of Canada on 27 November 2017; it passed second reading in the Senate of Canada on 22 March 2018. On 18 June 2018, the House passed the bill with most, but not all, of the Senate’s amendments. The Senate accepted this version of the Act the following day.
The federal government announced that recreational use of cannabis would no longer violate criminal law as of 17 October 2018. This legalization comes with regulation similar to that of alcohol in Canada, limiting home production, distribution, consumption areas and sale times. The process removed cannabis possession for personal consumption from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act; while implementing taxation and stronger punishments for those convicted of either supplying cannabis to minors, or of impairment while driving a motor vehicle.
As of January 2019, on-line sales of cannabis for recreational use were well underway across Canada, via the provincial or territorial governments. Most provinces also had storefront operations selling cannabis, either operated by the government or private enterprise. The number of retailers is likely to remain limited, largely due to insufficient supply of legal cannabis from licensed producers.
Entrepreneurship in Canada
Entrepreneurs have always existed in Canada. From the earliest days, Aboriginal people traded among themselves, and when Europeans arrived on these shores, a lucrative global fur trade was launched. Vast fortunes were later amassed by Canadian entrepreneurs who have become household names, such as Roy Thomson, Timothy Eaton and John Molson.
History of Cannabis in Jamaica
Cannabis in Jamaica is illegal, but possession of small amounts was reduced to a petty offence in 2015. Cannabis is locally known as ganja, and internationally cannabis consumption plays a prominent role in the nation’s public image, being tied to cultural touchstones such as Rastafari and reggae music.