CLA among world's top two, says former Canopy head

BY HORACE HINES
Observer staff reporter
hinesh@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, September 30, 2019

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Bruce Linton, Canadian business tycoon and former CEO of Canadian multi-billion dollar giant, Canopy, the world's largest publicly traded cannabis company by market value, has rated Jamaica's Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) among the two best cannabis regulatory systems in the world.

“ I think the regulatory framework I see in Jamaica is in the top two in the world. Straight up!” Linton remarked on Friday, the final day of the three-day CanEx Business Conference and Expo at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.

Linton added: “If you want to win against the illicit market you have to have branding; you have to have control so you don't have unlicensed brands. So I am very impressed and frankly, CLA is pretty successful.”

The Cannabis Licensing Authority falls under the remit of the Audley Shaw-led Ministry of Industry, Investment, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries.

It was established under the Dangerous Drug Amendment Act (DDA) with a specific role to establish and regulate Jamaica's legal ganja and hemp industry.

The board is chaired by attorney-at-Law Cindy Lightbourne and has among its directors Professor Errol Morrison; senior advisor/strategist in the Ministry of Tourism, Delano Seiveright; JAMPRO Vice-President, Shullette Cox; Verald “Ras Iyah V” Vassell; chief medical officer, Dr Jacqueline Bisasor-McKenzie; and businesswoman Eleanor Hussey.

Included in its mandate is the creation of regulations to guide the development of an orderly legal ganja and hemp industry in Jamaica for the use of the plant and its by-products for medical, therapeutic and scientific purposes.

It also ensures that regulations created and activities within the industry are in keeping with Jamaica's international obligation, and also issues licences, permits and authorisation for the handling of hemp and ganja.

On day one of CanEx, Seiveright stated that Jamaica remains at the forefront of the region on cannabis policy and reform.

“It was around 2016 that the board of CLA started taking applications, thereafter granting the first set of licences in late 2017. Now we have 55 licences granted spanning cultivation, retail, processing and research and development. No other country in the region has achieved this much and the Prime Minister Andrew Holness-led Government deserves commendation for their efforts in a space that seriously lacks resources and is riddled with very complex policy, legal, regulatory, social, international and political dynamics including the big elephant in the room — the lack of banking access,” Seiveright noted.

Four years ago, Douglas Gordon conceptualised and organised the annual CanEx Jamaica Business Conference and Expo as a business-to-business conference that brings together cannabis industry professionals from across the world to discuss advances in the industry and be provided a platform for knowledge sharing.


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