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Doc’s Place: Jamaica’s First Federally Licensed Medical Cannabis Wellness

Docs Place Sign

heal
/hi:l/
verb
to become sound or healthy again.

Health, wellness and cannabis go hand-in-hand, and for those cannasseurs that want to incorporate cannabis into their travel plans, there are many options becoming readily available. A few years ago, cannabis travel was just starting to become a thing. Bud and breakfast experiences became commonplace in legal states like Colorado, Oregon and Washington. If Barcelona or Amsterdam seem too far or unrealistic as short-term #goals, Jamaica is perfect for the adventure lover or retreat seeker. It is cannabis friendly in so many ways, especially now with the opening of Doc’s Place Wellness Center and Resort and Apollon Formularies. Doc’s Place is a wellness resort that allows the consumption of medical cannabis anywhere in the resort for patients who obtained their medical cannabis from a legal licensed medical cannabis dispensary. Apollon Formularies is a federally legally licensed dispensary which leases space from Doc’s Place to provide the medical cannabis products on site.

Translated as, “The Land of Wood and Water,” Jamaica is known for its pristine beaches, laid back island attitude, Red Stripe, exquisite rum, spicy jerk soul food, Rastafarianism, love of ganja, Reggae music, Bob Marley and the other musician Marley members of their very large family (Damien, Ziggy, Julian). Originally called Xaymaca by its indigenous inhabitants, the Arawaks or Tainos from South America, Jamaica sits just above the equator, south of Cuba, in the Caribbean Sea. Less known is the fact that the pirate history in Jamaica was very real and helped shaped the Jamaica of today. Port Royal was once known as the “Wickedest City in the World”. Captain Morgan was a real pirate that pillaged and plundered, then took back his booty to share and spend in the harbors and bays of Jamaica, along with many other notorious pirates, and the lesser known Jewish Pirates. Christopher Columbus landed in Discovery Bay in 1494. He soon took over the island claiming it for Spain, only to have Spain neglect the island nation. Britain took control in the 1600s until 1962 when Jamaica was granted their independence. If you’re fascinated by pirates it is most definitely a place to see at least once in your life.

Jamaica amasses a total of 4.240 square miles, with two major international airports, Montego Bay and Kingston. The island vibe and way of life is highly sought by tourists around the world and outside of the flight it’s more affordable than a lot of other popular tropical island destinations. Clean, fresh air and the negative ions of the ocean shore breeze make it a naturally healing environment.

Nestled on the Caribbean sea in the cliffs of Negril, about an hour and a half drive from the Montego Bay airport, is Doc’s Place International and Apollon Formularies. We wrote about their venture last year in 2018 and now they’re officially open for business. October 25th, 2019 was the official Grand opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony, with the Honorable Floyd Green, Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Agriculture (who is responsible for the Cannabis Licensing Authority) as the keynote speaker, along with other dignitaries from both Jamaican political parties, international medical cannabis press, media and influencers, and live music and food. It was an amazing experience to witness how many international visitors, as well as local Jamaicans who came to show their support for the opening of such a unique place.

Beach Yoga Docs Place

Doc’s Place is the only federally licensed wellness resort with a legal retail (therapeutic) dispensary on site. On the property, there are four large studio boutique hotel rooms, a seaside restaurant, a rooftop bar with a DJ, a yoga studio area, a massage area (all overlooking the ocean), a dispensary, a manufacturing and processing laboratory, and a garden plentiful with local Jamaican healing plants and herbs, all with medicinal benefits.

Featured in the center of the property is a sea water infinity pool, not a salt water pool, a sea water pool that required special permission from the National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA). They obtained a special permit and had to prove that by using and recirculating the sea water they weren’t polluting or dumping in the ocean.

This particular pool is especially great for travelers or patients who are looking for the healing properties of the sea but are unable to withstand some of the dangers of the open ocean. There is also a sea water jacuzzi.

Apollon Formularies

Apollon Formularies Jamaica is a legal retail dispensary on site at Doc’s Place with world class products that have won first place awards from the Best of Edibles List Awards, High Times Cannabis Cup, and the Jack Herer Cup.
Tour buses filled with tourists get dropped off on bar hopping adventures to enjoy the rooftop ocean view saloon experience at Doc’s Place International. While there, patients can get a medical cannabis prescription/recommendation from licensed medical doctors and then purchase medical cannabis and infused products from the Apollon Formularies Jamaica Dispensary. If you have a medical card anywhere else in the world, it qualifies you for approval of a medical cannabis prescription/recommendation in Jamaica. Alternatively, if you don’t feel like smoking or consuming medical marijuana, you can simply come by to enjoy a tropical smoothie and soak in the healing energy of the sea water pool, have a massage, enjoy a yoga class or dine in the health conscious restaurant.

When you get there, you can expect a warm and friendly check-in, staff with smiles on their faces, and a breathtaking view overlooking the ocean that makes the long journey down there worth the trek.

Travelers are able to request whatever they would like from the restaurant kitchen and every meal of the day is healthy, organic and preservative free. Transportation can be arranged for each guest, both to and from the airport as well as for any adventures during your stay.

It’s a soul transforming experience to head to another country like Jamaica to escape and relax by the sea while smoking cannabis legally and without hassle. The famous Negril sunsets are picturesque and colorful, yet serene and inspiring.

Healthy plants on site include Soursop fruit, (also known as graviola, guyabano, and in Latin America, guanábana) is the fruit of Annona muricata, a broadleaf, flowering, evergreen tree, is thought by some to have cancer reducing properties. It grows in tropical countries in the Americas and Carribean and is only available where it may be imported. Fresh soursop juice is made available for guests seeking extra antioxidants, helping to heal the body from the inside out.

Other healing flora and fauna in the Doc’s Place Garden include:
Soursop
Okra
Aloe Vera
Mint
Lemongrass
June plum
Papaya
Coconut
Ganja
Moringa
Honey Suckle
Lime

The rooms at Doc’s Place are air conditioned, open and airy, presented to you with a plumeria decorated swan or elephant towel origami (it brought such a huge smile to my face each time the room was made up for us). The ceilings had a warm wood trim and each room has access to an enclosed patio with multi-million dollar views. There is ample seating in each room, along with Jamaican cable and a mini kitchenette stocked with bottled and sparkling water. When you’re there you want to make sure to drink plenty of water, as the topical weather dehydrates you faster. Wi-Fi is provided free.

Suggested Healing Itinerary at Doc’s Place:

Wake and Bake by the pool
Eat fresh fruit and order Breakfast, also by the pool
Have a medical cannabis massage by the sea
Do a medical cannabis inspired yoga session overlooking the ocean
Order lunch
Float, immersed in the sea water pool
Have a smoke/vape and watch the sun set

Adventure Day Itinerary:

Wake and Bake by the pool
Eat fresh fruit and breakfast by the pool
Soak in the sea water pool
Take a boat to Rick’s Cafe
Snorkel down the road at 7 Mile Beach
Come back to Docs Place and eat dinner
Have a smoke/vape and watch the sun set

While ganja is medically legal in Jamaica, and can be used legally anywhere on the property of Doc’s Place, recreational use in Jamaica is decriminalized, but not legal. Possession of less than 2 ounces (56 grams), without a medical prescription/recommendation, is punishable by a fine but not incarceration. This is not an issue at Doc’s Place, since all medical cannabis products are federally legal and they are purchased with a physician provided medical prescription/recommendation at Apollon Formularies’ legal licensed dispensary. It is not legal in Jamaica to smoke in public spaces and private facilities that allow children, but it is allowed in federally legal private adult only wellness facilities like Doc’s Place. In order to legally obtain medical cannabis a doctor has to write a prescription/recommendation and then the cannabis can be purchased at a legally licensed dispensary like Apollon Formularies. Doctors are always available at Apollon Formularies to provide the prescription/recommendation to medically qualified patients.

Apollon Formularies Product Photo 1

If you’re a bride or groom-to-be and qualify medically, you could have the most epic cannabis wedding or bachelor/bachelorette party. Doc’s place is adults-only 18 years of age and up, which is nice because you don’t have to worry about smoking etiquette in the open.

The Apollon Formularies CLA (Cannabis Licensing Authority) approved processing lab is stocked and housed with over a half million dollars of state of the art extraction equipment. They use an ethanol extraction method for their processing because Apollon produces full spectrum medical cannabis oil for patients. Getting that equipment to Jamaica wasn’t easy, but once they did, they immediately set themselves apart from any other lab on the island.

In America, because cannabis is still federally illegal, medical studies and clinical trials are not generally allowed. In Jamaica, medicinal cannabis is federally recognized and medical studies, clinical trials, patents and trademarks are allowed, which made it an ideal place to have both a retreat and conduct research.

Some of the studies they are currently working on involve clinical trials for prostate cancer, breast cancer, and inflammation. Because medical cannabis is legal at Apollon Formularies, and they have a CLA approved License for Research and Development, they allowed to conduct medical and clinical studies with approval from the Ministry of Health, as well as, file cannabis patents for medical purposes. They also plan to conduct studies with narcotics addiction and withdrawal treatment with medical cannabis.

In the spirit of giving back and supporting the community, local Jamaicans that need treatment or medicine are offered free services and cannabis oil on a sliding scale basis. As Doc says, “If they can pay, they pay. If they can’t, I pay for it out of my pocket. No one should have to die or be denied treatment simply because they are poor”

Apollon Formularies is also in the process of acquiring approximately 600 acres inland, about two hours from Doc’s Place in an area called Bray’s River to start growing their own medicine anticipating the ability to export. The Jamaican government is expected to release the export regulations by the end of the year for current license holders. Apollon Formularies expects a high demand for its medical cannabis oil for export to countries where legal import is allowed because people and companies around the world are looking for medical cannabis oil that is associated with patient outcomes data from clinical trials. Medical cannabis oil is the primary ingredient for medical cannabis pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, cosmeceuticals, foods and beverages.

Apollon Formularies Lab

To stay at Doc’s Place, expect to spend $130 to $200 a night depending on the room, view, and season. Packages also include breakfast and transport to local adventure destinations. Their grand opening special is $129 for the rooms facing the mountains with a partial ocean view and $159 for the rooms overlooking the sea water infinity pool and the ocean. Reservations for Doc’s Place can be made at www.docsplaceinternational.com

Medical cannabis inspired yoga, medical cannabis oil massages and medical cannabis products are all purchased a la carte through Apollon Formularies.

In addition, there are plenty of adventures nearby to explore that the locals and staff recommend. There is an ocean water cave called The Blue Hole that you can jump into, it’s about a 30 foot drop with a ladder to climb out. You can also go horse surfing, yes that’s right, riding horses while the horses swim with you on them, 25 minutes up the road. Adventures and excursions are ample in Jamaica’s paradise, but if you just want to chill and get back in touch with nature and heal away from the hustle and bustle of the normal stressors in daily life, Doc’s Place offers that perfect place to feel safe and get your relaxation on.

Doc’s Place International hopes to expand to a 40-60 room facility in Jamaica to expand their offerings and make their cannabis wellness resort available to more people. The entire project started as a family business run by the Barnhills. Stephen D. Barnhill, MD has a special interest in Endocannabinoid Medicine. Dr. Barnhill’s wife, Amy, three sons, Stephen Jr., Nick, Chris, and daughter, Alyssa, all contributed to the creation and launch of Doc’s Place to honor the memory of Dr. Barnhill’s mother and the kid’s grandmother “Nanno” who was helped tremendously by medical cannabis while suffering from pancreatic cancer. They wanted to offer this same opportunity to other patients in a safe, physician supervised, legal environment with the highest quality medical cannabis products.

Other notable members of their team are Jah-Dee the Director of Cultivation (also known as Douglas Smith, the Bobo Ashanti Rastafarian Priest who we introduced in our last feature about Apollon Formularies), CEO Paul Burke, the former General Secretary for the People’s National Party, Dr. Marjorie Vessel one of the prescribing doctors and Medical Director, and Jeff Nagel and Amber Lee Abbott who Dr. Barnhill sought out to partner with on the Apollon Formularies product line and extraction lab.

Who is Doc’s Place International and Apollon Formularies for?

Patients from around the world and in Jamaica seeking physician supervised medical cannabis treatment in a federally legal environment with award winning medical cannabis products.

Patients with medical cannabis recommendation cards from anywhere in the world looking for a resort vacation destination where medical cannabis is federally legal and is allowed in the entire resort. Any patient with a medical card from anywhere in the world qualifies for a medical card in Jamaica.

Any patient looking to try medical cannabis therapy for the first time for their illness in a place where there is physician supervision, high quality award winning tested products, and in a federally legal environment.

Any patient who is a lover of the Jamaican Mecca of cannabis seeking an escape, where marijuana is widely accepted, an ingrained cornerstone of a culture and wants to enjoy their vacation in a federally legal environment.

Docs Place Sign

Resort Features:
A unique Caribbean sea water pool and Caribbean sea water jacuzzi
Health conscious fresh Jamaican cuisine
Cannabis oil massages
Cannabis inspired yoga classes
Apollon Formularies Retail (Therapeutic) Dispensary on site carrying award winning products
Beautiful upgraded room accommodations
Beautifully located directly on the Caribbean sea
Sky bar with fantastic view of the famous Negril sunset.
Tranquil meditation garden with koi pond
Sunset view lounge for relaxation and concentrate consumption

Book your stay, or learn more at:
docsplaceinternational.com

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