Cannabis Authority issues first set of conditional approvals

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Cannabis Licensing Authority has announced that it issued conditional approval for three applicants – two for small cultivators under one acre, and a third for a small processing facility – in early January 2017.
A release from the CLA on Tuesday disclosed that the granting of the conditional approval has come amidst concerns about the length of time the Authority has taken to review applications since passing its Regulations in May of last year.  
The Authority is maintaining, however, that the time taken to review the applications is required to ensure that proper due diligence is done and that people being put forward for conditional approval are fit and proper.
It said this require extensive verification of information provided on applications, adding that the time taken to process applicants is not unusual, as international forerunners in the legal handling of cannabis such as Uruguay and Colorado, have taken over two years to issue licenses.
“Jamaica has managed to advance steadily and within reasonable time, while ensuring compliance with international treaties,” the CLA said.
“At the outset, the Authority mapped the application process and noted that the processing of conditional approvals could take up to six months provided all relevant information was supplied.  In several instances, information has been requested by the Authority to help verify applications and any delay by applicants in providing this requested information adds to the processing timelines,” noted CLA Chairman Cindy Lightbourne.  
She also highlighted that the various Government partners supporting the due diligence process were extremely facilitatory and helped to ensure the timely review of the applications.
A fourth application for a small cultivator was also considered, but had to be refused as the owners did not establish that the entity was ‘substantially owned or managed by individuals ordinarily resident in Jamaica’ as required in the regulations.
“This is a good move in the right direction to get this industry going.  I am particularly pleased to see that despite popular belief to the contrary all the approved entities are small local companies” said portfolio Minister Karl Samuda, in response to the news.

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