IN response to the uproar from local ganja farmers who were upset that a licence had been granted to a company to import Canadian cannabis into Jamaica, Industry, Investment and Commerce Minister Senator Aubyn Hill says the Government will be working to develop a policy that will better serve the local cannabis industry.
Industry players are particularly upset that Canada, a country that does not allow Jamaican cannabis exports into its market, could be granted permission to export to Jamaica.
The company, Cannaviva Jamaica Limited, applied for and was granted the necessary permits by the Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) Board.
“One never wants to hear all this noise, but when you hear the noise you have to consider and think and act and adjust and make sure it works,” the minister said.
Hill, who was speaking at a press conference at Jamaica House on Monday, said he understands “the pain that people feel when they hear… about Jamaica importing cannabis from Canada”.
He assured that the ministry is “very committed in supporting and building the cannabis industry in Jamaica”, noting that he will be meeting with cannabis industry players face to face to hear directly from them about their concerns.
“Certainly, why I’m going to talk to the practitioners in the business is to hear what they say, talk with my team in the ministry, fashion a policy, and make the adjustments… All the people in the [cannabis] business, I want to hear from you. You don’t have to tell me [through] social media,” he said.
Hill said while he cannot interfere with what the CLA does, “I must be fully and properly informed… I have been looking at what the CLA does, but I’m now looking at the industry,” he said.
The minister said the CLA, through its Application Review and Decision-making Sub-committee has the authority to grant licences for cannabis, which is a schedule 1 drug under the 1961 Single Convention Act. A schedule 1 drug has to be prescribed every time it is used by someone, otherwise it is being used illegally.
Hill noted that the only import authorisation that has been utilised by Cannaviva is for a strain of cannabis that is not in Jamaica called tranquil elephantiser.