By Emily Ledger
Legislators in Jamaica are looking to overhaul cannabis restrictions as it is argued that current measures are no longer appropriate for the country’s fast-growing industry.
The State Minister for Industry, Investment and Commerce, the Hon. Dr Norman Dunn has announced that the Jamaican government is working quickly to make meaningful changes to the interim regulations that were enacted in 2015.
In a statement, Dr Dunn stated: “They require a complete rework and we are now set at the Ministry to work assiduously to change this. If we don’t change it and everywhere opens up apart from us, we are going to be completely left behind.
“We will not be able to compete adequately in this multimillion-dollar global industry.”
Dr Dunn spoke at a webinar hosted by the Jamaica National Agency for Accreditation (JANAAC) on Wednesday about “Candid Conversations on Cannabis: Jamaica’s Place in the Multibillion-Dollar Growth Industry”.
In his speech, the State Minister claimed that, while regulations were appropriate at the time they were enacted as “the Government had to act cautiously in how it rolled out the new industry”, it is now clear that changes are necessary.
He stated: “But the world is moving very fast as far as the opening up of this industry is concerned and, therefore, we have to now change gear.
“How we position ourselves will better enable Jamaica to tap into the multimillion-dollar global industry.”
Furthermore, Minister Dunn believes that the JANAAC will play an important role in the overhaul. The agency is set to give the country’s farms and manufacturing facilities its seal of approval.
“Your assessment and validation will enhance the ability of the products from Jamaica… to compete worldwide,” he noted.
Dr Dunn concluded that “opening up the industry in a very controlled and scientific manner will eventually eliminate the illicit trade because persons will not seek to produce in substandard conditions”.