Sat | Oct 21, 2017

No decision yet on ganja import

Published:Sunday | October 11, 2015 | 12:00 AM
A local ganja farm.

The Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) has moved to clarify claims that the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) has sought permission from the Government to import some 100 ganja seeds for a pilot project.

Responding to a story published in The Gleaner last Friday, the CLA noted that the importation of ganja remains illegal.

"The authority is working tirelessly to have regulations in place in the coming months, but until such time, no one can legally import ganja, in any form, into the country as it remains illegal. The CLA wants to make this very clear to the public. Importing or exporting ganja is an illegal activity in Jamaica," said CLA chairman Dr Andre Gordon.

"Furthermore, the amendment to the Dangerous Drugs Act (DDA), which was promulgated earlier this year, established the CLA as the authority to issue 'such licences, permits and authorisations, as may be appropriate, for the handling of hemp and marijuana (ganja) for medical, therapeutic or scientific purposes'," added Gordon.

He said reports suggesting that the BSJ is to serve as the central licensing authority for the cannabis industry are incorrect.

The CLA head noted that other entities given legal remit under the DDA include the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining (MSTEM) and the chief medical officer.

MSTEM grants orders to cultivate ganja on lands designated by the minister, or to import any ganja plant or part thereof (for example, seeds) for scientific research, in accordance with the regulations to be made by the CLA, while the chief medical officer retains authority for the importation and/or exportation of extracts or tinctures and preparations of the plant Cannabis sativa.

"The CLA remains resolute on the non-issuing of licences in the absence of regulations, emphasising that no licences or permits can be granted to any entity in the absence of regulations, which currently do not exist," said Gordon.

He added that steps are being taken to expedite the cannabis regulatory process in the shortest time possible.