GGPAJ welcomes start of the consultation process on 'Special Permits'

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GGPAJ welcomes start of the consultation process on 'Special Permits'

Saturday, July 04, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica— The Ganja Growers and Producers Association (GGPA) today welcomed the start of the consultation process for the special permit policy for the cannabis industry.

The Cannabis Licencing Authority (CLA) said it had begun meeting with stakeholders on the Cultivator's (transitional) Special Permit Policy.

The policy is geared towards transitioning small or subsistence farmers who currently find it challenging to obtain a licence to enter into the medical cannabis industry.

“This policy intends to provide this group of farmers with an additional avenue to enter the medical cannabis industry as well as an opportunity to transition from being the 'holder of a special permit' to the 'holder of a licence',” the authority said in a statement.

The statement added that “the policy proposes that the special permit will be valid for two years. This means that the holder of a valid permit will be allowed to cultivate ganja for the 24 months. However, it is expected that during this period, the permit holder will make the requisite preparations in order to transition to licensed status upon expiration of the permit.”

“In addition, it is proposed that entry into the industry via the special permit will be at a reduced cost in several areas such as application and licence fees and holders allowed variations to the existing infrastructural and security requirements. Notwithstanding these proposed changes, parallel mechanisms will be established to ensure that accountability and traceability within the industry is maintained,” the statement continued.

While the GGPA welcomed the development, the association said it was alarmed that it was not consulted about the policy. The association noted that it has over 4,000 registered members of which over 600 are currently active.

“Many of our members are today non-active, being totally frustrated by the hurdles and obstacles in the present regulated cannabis industry. We are extremely pleased about the proposed special permits as we have long been advocating for a two-year moratorium for small farmers and for an industry to have started from 'ground up',” the association said in a response.

“Our positions on access and inclusion issues for traditional cultivators had for all practical purposes fallen on deaf ears for over five years and therefore, we now welcome and support initiatives that we have long lobbied for. There is no need for any long drawn out process to implement the start of these special permits to "open up the Jamaica ganja industry,” the association noted.

“They must be accessible and affordable and not be a cosmetic public relations stunt to appease growing public consciousness and pressure over the state of the local ganja industry.”

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