Cannabis board approves regulations to guide ganja industry

KINGSTON, Jamaica – The newly appointed board of directors for the Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) has approved the regulations that will guide the start of Jamaica's legal ganja industry.

The CLA, which was created by the Dangerous Drug (Amendment) Act 2015, has powers to make and oversee the implementation of regulations for licenses, permits and other authorisations for the cultivation, processing, distribution, sale and transportation of hemp as well as ganja, for medicinal, scientific and therapeutic purposes, a news release from the authority said Thursday.

The minister responsible for the Authority, Karl Samuda, has congratulated the board for the speed at which it has been able to develop the regulations, acknowledging that this was due in large part to the level of continuity that has been given to their work.

Of the 16 board members of the CLA, 12 were returned, including Chairman of the National Council on Drug Abuse, Professor Wendel Abel; prominent Rastafarian Verald 'Ras Iyah V' Vassell; Rastafari Millennium Council Executive member Robert 'Prophet Greg' Mogg; Businessman Jason Henzell; University of the West Indies Principal and Pro-Vice Chancellor, Professor Archibald McDonald and Head of the National Council for Science and Technology, Professor Errol Morrison.

Among the new additions to the board are Attorney-at-Law Hyacinth Lightbourne, who serves as chairman; Communications Consultant and Government Advisor Delano Seiveright, and Civil Society advocate Eleanor Crichton Hussey.

The Board also includes technical representatives from the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Health, Ministry of National Security, and the Attorney General's Chambers.

The release said the regulations that have been approved address the licensing regime for the ganja industry and do not deal with hemp products, which will be addressed in regulations to be developed.

With these initial regulations now approved by the Board, the Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel will now move to finalise the document for the signature of both chairman of the CLA as well as the Minister of Justice, ahead of being submitted for gazetting and entry into law.

The Authority noted that while it awaits the passing of the regulations into law, it will be convening town hall meetings in several parishes during the last two weeks in May.

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