Fri | Aug 18, 2017

Regulated edible ganja industry cannot be stopped! - Burke

Published:Wednesday | May 31, 2017 | 5:00 AMJason Cross
Paul Burke

The establishment of a well-regulated edible ganja industry cannot be stopped again, says programme director of the Ganja Growers and Producers Association, Paul Burke.

Burke was speaking to The Gleaner yesterday, and highlighted some points that arose from a meeting on Monday between representatives of the Ganja Growers and Producers Association and the Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA), to discuss the way forward in ensuring that the industry is launched with official standards outlined.

"You can't stop it again!" Burke declared.

"You must regulate it, which means having set standards and protocols; having the testing, strict labelling, which would include things like dosage. The persons selling must be trained on how to produce it and must be trained to give advice to customers. There must be public education, and, of course, there must be strict sanctions for those who breach," he stated.

Burke is giving his "full support" to having the industry regularised, to prevent a "free-for-all".

"We reviewed the situation and we agree that it cannot be a free-for-all. It being a free-for-all puts persons at risk, damages the industry, and gives fodder to those who are opposed to the cannabis industry. I think that we can come to some interim understanding until there is a sign-off by the Ministry of Health and the CLA."

"We are writing to the Ministry of Health that we need to go forward, and not backward. We said (in the meeting) that we will work with them (the ministry) and other stakeholders to try and establish standards. The labelling is very important, because people ought to know what they are ingesting and in what dosage," Burke said, while also pinpointing that the letter should be submitted this week and will be released to the press soon afterwards.

A Gleaner story had reported that the Ministry of Justice had banned ganja edibles, including brownies and velvet cakes, from all festivals and shows.

This follows concerns expressed by the National Council on Drug Abuse about the use and abuse of ganja at recent events.

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com