ST JAMES, Jamaica - The Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce continues to advocate for the inclusion of more Jamaican farmers in the cultivation of ganja as part of efforts to develop the sector and tap into its potential economic benefits.
State Minister in the Ministry, Dr Norman Dunn, said the Government’s Alternative Development Programme (ADP) is a key initiative for community groups and small-scale growers to gain access to legal channels in the industry.
“The ADP is a community-centred approach in which participating communities will be allowed to cultivate up to 10 acres of land [and] will be required to sell all of their outputs from the programme to a licensed downstream buyer or authorised permit holders of the Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA),” Dr Dunn explained.
He was addressing an event hosted by JACANA, at Island Village in Ocho Rios, St Ann, on Thursday, April 20, in recognition of International Cannabis Day.
Dr Dunn further noted that the Cultivator’s (Transitional) Special Permit is also another method being promoted to reduce the barriers to entry for subsistence farmers at the licensed stage.
He outlined that the permit’s regulatory framework is “less rigid” and will allow farmers a period to operate in the industry, while building capacity and accumulating the financial resources necessary to make the application to the CLA for a full cannabis licence.
Dr Dunn said that permit holders will utilise the mother farm concept to cultivate the crop and sell it back to mother farms operated by licensees.
“Recently, the ministry hosted a meeting of several stakeholders within the licensed regime to confer on matters relating to the industry and chart a sustainable development of this important industry,” the state minister pointed out.
“We in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce continue to meet and engage stakeholders across Jamaica from within the various communities, in academia, medical research, businesses and across government… that will advance Jamaica’s distinctive cannabis industry,” he added.
In the meantime, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia “Babsy” Grange, said although ganja has long been a part of Jamaica’s cultural fabric, its use must be regulated.
She pointed out that it is through these advanced processes that the negative reputation of the substance will be liberated to “become the foundation of a new Jamaican industry with potential to make a major contribution to the national budget”.
Grange argued that the increased scientific knowledge from cannabis ensures that the growing conditions and the products sold by licensed growers are done under safe and legal circumstances and are dispensed under the condition of the amendment to the Dangerous Drugs Act passed in 2015.