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Taskforce outlines roadmap for Jamaica to decriminalise marijuana within 120 days
It will be a while longer before people who want to get involved in marijuana cultivation, transportation, processing, retailing, and research and development legally in Jamaica can do so.
The Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA), which was expecting to accept applications from Monday, says the process has been delayed with the change in government.
Chairman of the CLA, Dr Andre Gordon, said regulations have to be reviewed and approved by the Minister of Justice before the ganja industry could start operations, and that has not yet been done.
However, he says he expects that will happen before the end of April.
Under the amendments to the Dangerous Drugs Act, the CLA has been given the power to issue licences, permits and authorizations for the handling of hemp and marijuana for medical, therapeutic or scientific purposes.
And under the regulations for the industry, 11 types of licences across five main categories – cultivation, transportation, processing, retailing, and research and development – will be made available.
The regulations also make special provisions for small farmers, cooperatives, and small-scale processors to participate in the industry.
The Jamaica government is being urged to enact legislation that would decriminalise marijuana as well as establish a medical marijuana industry.
The Cannabis Commercial and Medicinal Research Taskforce, which organised a three-day meeting on marijuana decriminalisation together with the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI), says the Portia Simpson Miller administration should move within a four month period to decriminalise marijuana.
The taskforce has issued a 12-point roadmap it believes the government should follow. It wants the government to immediately expunge criminal records for all Jamaicans convicted for possessing small amounts of marijuana.
The task force said Jamaica would significantly benefit from a regulated medical marijuana industry.
Jamaica and other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders will discuss the issue of decrominalisation of marijuana for medicinal purposes when they meet in Antigua in July for their annual summit.
The leaders during their inter-sessional summit in St. Vincent in March discussed a preliminary report prepared by the CARICOM Secretariat that indicated decriminalising marijuana for medicinal purposes could help boost the region’s economy.
The St. Lucia government has already said it is important for CARICOM to adopt a regional approach to settling the issue of the legislation of marijuana.
“The movement of citizens within the region makes it difficult to deal with the decriminalisation of marijuana on an individual basis. Therefore, I personally believe that this issue must be dealt with on the regional level,” Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony has said.