Fri | Nov 15, 2019

Seiveright urges European stakeholders to bolster cannabis push

Published:Thursday | June 27, 2019 | 12:27 AM

More than 1,200 largely European citizens at Cannabis Europa, a conference focused on government policy and business development activities for cannabis in Europe, gathered at the Southbank Centre in London, England, on Tuesday to converse with over 80 speakers and panellists from across the globe.

Director of the Cannabis Licensing Authority, Delano Seiveright, in his contributions to the event, encouraged European stakeholders to continue to pursue further cannabis-related reforms in their respective countries as it will, in part, assist “small developing states like Jamaica to further deepen its cannabis liberalisation efforts so as to bring much-needed benefits to small traditional farmers who are suffering from marginalisation due to complicated laws and regulations brought on by geopolitical realities, and to foster growth and development in emerging market economies”.

Seiveright, who is also a senior adviser/strategist in the Ministry of Tourism, outlined Jamaica’s modern road to liberalisation over the last six years, noting that “significant progress has been made and it has effectively positioned Jamaica as a pioneer for cannabis reform efforts globally. However, much more is needed to be done to ensure the full incorporation of small traditional players who need to be brought into the regulated environment. Major reform in places like the UK, the wider European community, similar in respects to what has happened in Canada and several states across the United States, will help in breaking down impediments related to the UN Single Convention such as banking restrictions, difficulties in accessing capital and so on.”

When Jamaica’s Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act 2015 came into effect on April 15, 2015, new provisions were put in place regarding the possession and smoking of ganja, use of ganja by persons of the Rastafarian faith, and use of ganja for medical, therapeutic and scientific purposes.

UK liberalisation

In what is viewed as a major step towards liberalisation in the United Kingdom, new regulations as at November 2018 permits specialist doctors to prescribe medical cannabis for patients. The decision to reschedule the products came following a specially commissioned review. An initial review by the United Kingdom’s chief medical adviser, Dame Sally Davies, concluded that there was evidence medicinal cannabis can have therapeutic benefits. The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, which carried out the second part of the review, noted that doctors should be able to prescribe medicinal cannabis provided products meet safety standards.