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Regulations for hemp industry by 2018

Published:Thursday | July 27, 2017 | 12:40 PM
Hyacinth Lightbourne

Chairperson of the Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA), Hyacinth Lightbourne, says regulations being developed to guide a legal hemp industry in Jamaica should be in place next year.

She made the disclosure during a session on medical marijuana at the Jamaica 55 Diaspora Conference on Tuesday at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston.

Lightbourne said that a systematic approach is being taken to the hemp industry's establishment in Jamaica, relative to that for marijuana, "because hemp that is planted too close to ganja breeds the possibility of cross-pollination."

In this regard, she said advice is being sought in relation to minimising this possibility and "whether or not it has to be done specifically indoor.

"Unfortunately, we live on a small island that can be impacted by hurricanes; so the possibility of cross-pollination is high," she said.

In the meantime, Lightbourne said measures are being implemented to ensure that small farmers are included in the discussions going forward.

Cannabis is divided into two major pure strains - indica and sativa. Hemp is a variety of the Cannabis sativa strain.

However, while cannabis and hemp are from the same species, they have very diverse applications.

The Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica strains are mostly used for psychotropic and medicinal uses. Hemp, however, is almost entirely used for industrial purposes.

CLA is an agency of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries that was established in 2015, under the Dangerous Drug (Amend-ment) Act to formulate and regulate Jamaica's legal ganja and hemp industries.