History was made last week in Jamaica as the first government-endorsed legal marijuana plant was planted by officials of the University of the West Indies, as the symbolic establishment of the nation’s first marijuana research group and eventual institute.

The firm, now known as the UWI Cannabis Research Group, will focus on researching all possibilities for the medicinal and commercial use of the plant. Initial research will include identifying strains and cultivating a blanket of knowledge in terms of effects caused by individual strains. Chemical profiling and the building of an index of sorts to continually build on and develop.

As time moves on, they hope the installation of a full-fledged institute will follow, with heavy support from both science and government starting to gain momentum. Phillip Paulwell, minister of science, tech, energy and mining, has said the Scientific Research Council will be monitoring the progress of the group very closely.

This all comes after the 2013 announcement from UWI of the projected Jamaica Cannabis Institute in conjunction with the University of Technology, Jamaica.