Correspondent banking relationship key to developing cannabis industry

BY KELLARAY MILES
Observer Business Writer

Sunday, September 08, 2019

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Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Audley Shaw at the recent media launch for the CanEx 2019 Business Conference and Expo indicated that his ministry is currently looking into addressing the challenges of the cannabis industry.

The minister then cited correspondent banking issues with the United States, as key for the cannabis players to gain significant earnings from this multibillion-dollar industry.

The minister declared that this move needs to be urgently addressed, as the US who is one of Jamaica's major banking partners must find common ground in terms of how businesses will emerge in the industry and be regulated, so that they can have fair advantages for trade and conducting business transactions within this globally competitive space.

“Ironically while 31 states of the US have a cannabis industry taking place, many of them are either using credit unions — which we can't use in Jamaica because they are not banks, or they are using raw cash, moving raw cash around,” he said.

These levels of ambiguities, Shaw believes, must be addressed for Jamaica to compete on a level playing field and bring its businesses up to world-class standard. He also highlighted that laws are already being looked at in the US to address these domestic issues, but he will have to ensure that it is done at a faster pace.

“We have to aggressively lobby the US government among other things to put in place a formal correspondent banking system for legitimate, legal cannabis and medicinal cannabis operation — I'm aggressively working on that with the US ambassador,” the minister stated.

“We [also] have to make the appropriate interventions up to the level of the president of the United States, the State Department, the Treasury Department — all of them to demonstrate that we are building a legitimate world-class cannabis industry,” Shaw expressed, at the conference launch.

Among other measures to address the ongoing challenges in the industry, Shaw also spoke to those concerning export regulation.

“The Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) is now aggressively undertaking export regulation, which he expects to be ready by no later than September,” he stated.

This he believes will auger well for the movement of bonds, oil, raw materials for commercial manufacture, and other goods within the industry.


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