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Use only legal cannabis products, ministry warns

Thursday, March 29, 2018

THE Ministry of Health has advised the public against the use of unregistered cannabis products for medical and therapeutic purposes.

“The Ministry of Health recommends that medical cannabis products have a maximum Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content of five per cent, and is concerned about the potential negative public health effects that may arise from the use of unregistered cannabis products of which the (THC) content is unknown,” a ministry release said yesterday. Tetrahydrocannabinol is the main mind-altering ingredient found in the cannabis plant.

According to the release, the Food and Drugs Act states that any substance manufactured, sold or represented for use in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention of a disease, disorder or symptoms is classified as a drug and must be registered, and the requisite permits obtained from the Ministry of Health.

It added: The Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act, 2015 which has decriminalised ganja for specific purposes, cannabis remains classified as a controlled drug under the Food and Drugs Act (1975). Also, in accordance with the provisions of the Pharmacy Act, the compounding, dispensing, storing for sale or retailing of drugs must be done at a registered pharmacy and by a registered pharmacist. Therefore, any company that is currently selling cannabis products for medical and therapeutic purposes is in breach of the Food and Drugs Act (1975) and the Pharmacy Act.”

Companies were advised to consult with the Ministry of Health's Standards and Regulations Department, Pharmacy Council of Jamaica and the Cannabis Licensing Authority if they wished to manufacture or distribute cannabis products, in order to ensure that proper standards and procedures are followed and that their operations are in keeping with the relevant laws of Jamaica.

“There is a process in place for registration of medical and therapeutic cannabis products that starts with the application for registration by the Ministry of Health,” said the release.

At the same time, the ministry reiterated that it does not support, for medicinal and therapeutic purposes, the smoking of cannabis and the use of edibles containing cannabis.

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