Patterson says medical ganja essential for economic growthThursday, October 30, 2014
KINGSTON, Jamaica -- Former Prime Minister P J Patterson has called for urgent implementation of legislation to facilitate the growth of Jamaica’s medical ganja industry.
Patterson told Wednesday night’s unveiling of new ganja-based medical products by Medicanja Limited, regarded as Jamaica’s first medicinal marijuana company, that passing International Monetary Fund (IMF) tests will not be enough without economic growth.
“I also know at this time, we realize the priority which bills relating to the IMF has to be given, but let us also realize that passing tests without economic growth will not allow us to burst the tape,” Patterson, a member of the board of directors of Medicanja, told the function held at Eden Gardens in Kingston.
He said that Jamaica is lagging behind in preparing the necessary regulatory framework to allow for the development of the medical cannabis industry and, if this continues, the country will lose its competitive edge and comparative advantage, and would have no one to blame but itself.
“On behalf of the Medicanja board, I want to make an urgent call for the implementation of a legislative framework that will stir the growth and development of the sector,” he stated.
He urged Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Phillip Paulwell, who was guest speaker at the function, that both as the minister with responsibility for science and as leader of the House of Representatives, he should ensure that the legislation required is put in place without further delay.
“And we are imploring you to engage the special drafting skills to concentrate on this legislation, and, when the bills are ready, get members of the House to meet two days per week, and I believe members of the House on both sides have an interest on behalf of their constituents in ensuring that the full legal framework is in place,” Patterson said.
Other speakers at the function included Medicanja’s founder and CEO, Dr Henry Lowe, and the principal of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona campus, Professor Archibald McDonald. Master of Ceremonies was Professor Errol Morrison. The theme of the event was, "Innovations by Medicanja: Products, Technologies, and Services".