As of November 30th, 2019. 53 The Jamaican Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) has issued 53 licenses for the legal handling of ganja and ganja products in Jamaica. According to Chief Executive Officer of the CLA, Mr. Lincoln Allen, “this fiftieth license is symbolic” highlighting that the CLA is committed to the process of establishing a viable, legal and regulated ganja industry in Jamaica. To date, the licenses issued have added four hundred and forty (440) jobs to the economy directly since issuing its first license just over two (2) years.
The license was issued to Outlier Bio-pharma Limited, CEO Mr. Brian Thelwel stated, this was the fulfillment of a dream. But as many licensees reckon, the license is the easy part maintaining the stringent requirements of the CLA are more tenuous.
In a statement by the Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, the Honourable Audley Shaw, noted that the CLA’s growing application pool is a testament to the industry’s appeal and profitability; “The good news, beyond these licences that are being issued, is the interest (in Jamaican ganja) continues to be vibrant”.
There is no doubt that Jamaica already stands at the forefront of the cannabis industry in terms of offering, culture and skills. In process at the moment is the regulatory framework to allow for the export of cannabis products in large quantities. Existing companies have made strides with the successful exportation of both flower products and oils. There have been some stumbling blocks with some operations. The Westmorland Hemp and Ganja Farmers Association (WAGFA) until very recently, were still awaiting suitable land to implement the government initiated Alternative Development Programme.
The industry is growing and efforts continue to be made to include traditional ganja farmers into the formal and legal economy that cannabis can provide. The CLA is now exploring issuing “Provisional Licenses” to small farmers. Director of Enforcement and Monitoring at the CLA, Faith Graham said initiatives are being finalised to increase the number of small farmers operating in the industry. With the transitional permit, farmers will be granted an 18-month period where they can begin operating in the industry, without the full licence.
In a Press Release the CLA stated, “Since the beginning of the Financial Year (April to November 2019), trading among licensees is valued at just under ninety thousand US dollars (US$90,000) not including sales to the end-user at retail facilities.
The Authority has also issued over two hundred and fifty (250) Conditional Approvals, which means the applicants are deemed as fit and proper to be part of the industry can begin to build out their facilities to be licensed”.
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