CLA finalising policy for special permit

WRITTEN BY: ROSHEIKA GRANT

The Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) says it is at an advanced stage of finalising a policy for a Cultivator’s (Transitional) Special Permit.

Speaking at a JIS ‘Think Tank’ on August 27, Senior Legal Officer (Acting), Sheldon Reid, noted that the special permit will help small farmers or subsistence farmers who find it challenging to enter the industry at the licensed stage.

The Authority has engaged more than 300 persons across the island in consultation sessions with special interest groups, such as licensees, small and traditional ganja farmers and ministries, departments and agencies, to further inform the policy since June this year.

Sheldon Reid- Senior Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary. (Acting) Cannabis Licensing Authority

“We wanted to ascertain how to better incorporate the broader cross section of the country, and more specifically the cannabis industry, into this medicinal cannabis industry. We understand that small and sustainable farmers do find challenges entering the industry and a lot of those challenges are linked to finances, so what we have done in considering these challenges is to meet them where they are,” he explained.

According to Mr Reid, the Special Permit was developed to facilitate greater inclusion in the industry.

“We want to give you this permit for you to cultivate your cannabis where you are and for two years, whatever you sell in our industry, we want you to use that time to develop your facility to the standard that is needed at the licensing regime, and after the two years, you can apply for your licence,” he said.

He shared with JIS News the basic requirements to access the Special Permit when it is completed.

“Once they have access to legitimate land, have at least five feet of fencing… We are saying let’s see what you have and if you have these basic requirements, then we want to incorporate you into the licensing regime,” he added.

According to Mr. Reid, the CLA is aiming to make the Special Permit at least 50 per cent lower than the cost to obtain a tier-one cultivator’s licence, which is US$1,000.

The CLA is an Authority under the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries that was established in 2015 under the Dangerous Drugs [Amendment] Act (DDA), with a specific role to establish and regulate Jamaica’s legal cannabis and hemp industry.

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