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Regulations to import and export medical ganja gazetted

Published:Saturday | October 22, 2022 | 12:07 AM
Cannabis plants growing on a farm operated by licensed operator Epican
Cannabis plants growing on a farm operated by licensed operator Epican

JAMAICA HAS strengthened its position as a major player in the medical ganja industry by formalising arrangements for the import, export, transit and trans-shipment of the herb to other countries that are also signatories to international drug conventions.

This was done following the gazetting of the Dangerous Drugs (Cannabis Import, Export, Transit and Transhipment) Regulations.

Senator Aubyn Hill, minister of industry, investment and commerce, whose portfolio includes the Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA), said that Jamaica is poised to further capitalise on this lucrative market as a result of this development.

“Over the last four years, our interim arrangements facilitated 176 export authorisations. We expect that with the increased use of cannabis for therapeutic applications, and as more countries legalise or decriminalise cannabis, Jamaica will be able to increase substantially our foreign exchange earnings by moving this commodity through Jamaica, and to and from other territories,” he said.

Hill noted that having facilitated exports since November 2018, the CLA will not need to change its operations extensively.

“In anticipation of the regulations being passed, the ministry, through the CLA, held ongoing consultations with key border regulatory agencies and other entities, and crafted standard operating procedures to manage cannabis import and export,” he explained.

One of those procedures is the presence of CLA officers, on-site, who monitor all exports to ensure that there is no inversion or diversion of ganja.

Commenting on the development, interim CEO of the CLA, Daenia Ashpole, noted that the regulations were informed by ongoing consultations with stakeholders, as well as by the experiences of Jamaicans who legally exported ganja through interim measures which the CLA established in 2018.

“The CLA, through the ministry, will continue to work with stakeholders to finalise regulations for the Cultivators (transitional) Special Permit to allow for more inclusiveness of small farmers in the industry, and to establish regulations for hemp. At the same time, we continue to make improvements to the interim regulations,” she said.

Jamaica authorised its first legal trans-shipment of ganja in February this year, where a consignment was moved from St Vincent and the Grenadines through Jamaica to Germany.