Wed | May 27, 2020

Gov’t assisting transition of traditional ganja growers to legal industry

Published:Tuesday | February 25, 2020 | 9:30 AM
Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Floyd Green - Contributed photo

Minister of State for Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Floyd Green, says the Government, through its Alternative Development Programme (ADP), is committed to assisting traditional cannabis growers to transition to the emerging legal medicinal industry.

“The ADP was specifically created to offer farmers the technical and financial support they need to enter the legal industry. It is designed to guide the transition of small traditional Jamaican ganja farmers into the regulated and licensed cannabis industry,” he noted.

“The ultimate goal is to create an environment where farmers can operate legally and where Jamaica can be positioned as a world leader in the global cannabis sector,” he added at a community meeting in Slipe, St Elizabeth, on February 21.

 He also spoke to growers and other stakeholders in Mountainside in the parish on the day.

The ADP, being implemented by the Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA), aims to prevent and eliminate the illicit cultivation of cannabis and channel planting through legal streams.

The agency has been carrying out a series of sensitisation sessions across the island, targeting persons who want to be involved in the industry.

Green said the CLA is now on a mission “to look for community groups of traditional growers that we will engage and provide the technical support for them to transition”.

He noted that the programme will improve the legitimate earning potential of small, marginalised communities that currently operate within the black market, while providing access to quality-controlled cannabis for medicinal purposes.

He said that the ADP Oversight Committee is charged with selecting communities to participate in the programme and to receive and review applications to ensure that they are operating within the specified guidelines.

Green said that a legal local cannabis industry will enable Jamaica to tap into the global market, which is estimated to be worth US$150 billion, with projections to reach US$272 billion by 2028.

He noted that cannabis sales rose exponentially in 2019, driven by activity in Canada and the United States.

“This is an industry with a lot of potential for Jamaica, but we have to do it the right way. We have to reduce the sources of supply for illicit traffickers by demonstrating the alternative livelihood available to individuals who have traditional knowledge and expertise in ganja cultivation,” he said.

- JIS News 

Follow The Gleaner on Twitter and Instagram @JamaicaGleaner and on Facebook @GleanerJamaica. Send us a message on WhatsApp at 1-876-499-0169 or email us @onlinefeedback@gleanerjm.com or editors@gleanerjm.com.