Thu | Jun 30, 2022

CLA crafting new licence for ganja farmers

Published:Wednesday | May 25, 2022 | 12:10 AM

WESTERN BUREAU:

A NEW alternative licensing programme for small ganja farmers is on the horizon, says Morland Wilson, member of parliament for Westmoreland Western.

That revelation has come five years after a pilot project – designed to benefit ganja farmers in Westmoreland – failed to get off the ground under the Alternative Development Programme of the Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA).

In 2017, the CLA set up the programme, which should have run initially for one year.

Two pilot projects were approved: one in Accompong Town, St Elizabeth, and the other in Orange Hill, Westmoreland. However, the latter failed to get going largely because of the inability of the Government and farmers to find suitable land on which to execute the project.

“Unfortunately, the project for Orange Hill didn’t take off, and as you’d appreciate, this all occurred before I became a member of parliament,” Wilson, who was elected in 2020, said.

“However, being that the programme didn’t take off subsequent to 2017, they (CLA) are now looking at a new form of licence for traditional farmers,” said Wilson.

The lawmaker was responding to questions from farmers during a panel discussion at the inaugural Westmoreland Hemp and Ganja Farmers Association (WHGFA) symposium on the weekend. The forum addressed sustainable plans for small ganja farmers in West End, Negril.

The new licence, Wilson said, is now being spearheaded by State Minister Dr Norman Dunn in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce.

Dunn is reportedly overseeing the drafting and piloting of legislation that focuses specifically on traditional farmers, Wilson said.

Wilson argued that delays in formalising traditional farmers were a source of contention and that there was much interest in how the sector evolves.

“The new licence that is to come will give traditional farmers an opportunity to operate in the space,”said Wilson.

WHGFA Chairman Delroy Johnson informed The Gleaner that it would need suitable lands, of about 30 acres, to roll out the Alternative Development Programme.

albert.ferguson@gleanerjm.com