CLA pursuing more inclusive medical ganja industry
A marijuana plant

KINGSTON, Jamaica —The Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) says it has been moving towards policies that are in pursuit of a more inclusive medical cannabis industry.

The announcement was made at a recent Cannabis Conscious discussion hosted by the CLA and the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), where a panel of experts addressed stakeholder concerns on matters relating to the industry.

The discussion surrounded strides made in the promulgation of the Cultivator’s (transitional) Special Permit, which is currently before legislative drafters, was highlighted.

These regulations will offer reduced fees and varied security requirements for small farmers during the transitional period. Additionally, the CLA said even while the public awaits implementation of those regulations, it has put in place a deferment of fees and payment plan policy that can benefit persons wishing to be licensed.

Cannabis, Agriculture, and Dietary Attorney/Consultant, Scheril Murray-Powell, said that the cannabis industry has been expanding as many governments are looking for it to provide economic revenue for their countries.

She explained that cannabis has various health benefits, and with the number of health equity issues globally, much interest is being seen from governments for the legal use of the product.

“Here in Jamaica, we have always been known for the quality of our ganja and over the years, we have transitioned from a stigmatised environment to a more acceptable one. When you look at it from a global standpoint, there is a high regard for Jamaican cannabis,” she stated.

Given the transitions that have taken place, the attorney warned that even as we embrace the standardisation of agricultural and manufacturing practices, “it is important that we do not price out our traditional cultivators.”

Speaking from an operational perspective, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) (Interim) at the CLA Daenia Ashpole, said that it is important to have these conversations further explaining that said discussions should ensure that the CLA “are clear on helping our licensees or those interested in the industry to be aware of the rules regarding the medical and therapeutic industry that the CLA regulates.”

Minister of Industry Investment and Commerce (MIIC) Senator Aubyn Hill said the ministry’s main interest is to “focus on medicinal and therapeutic cannabis, which has quite a market locally and overseas.”

Senator Hill also said “as the minister of MIIC, I want to see us encouraging as much global export as possible in the industry because as we continue to export as a country within the rules of international trade, we will grow richer and richer.

“We cannot get rich just dealing with ourselves in a relatively small population size,” he continued.

The CLA, established in 2015 under the Dangerous Drug Amendment Act (DDA), is an agency of the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, with a specific role to establish and regulate Jamaica’s legal ganja and hemp industry.

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