KINGSTON, Jamaica, Thursday May 19, 2016 – Science, Energy and Technology Minister, Dr. Andrew Wheatley, says the Government is committed to facilitating a fully operational medical marijuana industry in Jamaica.
He noted that with the passage of amendments to the Dangerous Drugs Act, Jamaica has joined a number of growing countries that have decriminalized marijuana and “we will be moving to have the appropriate regulations in place to guide the development of the industry.”
The Minister was addressing the recent second annual Medical Marijuana Integration Day at the University of Technology (UTech), under the theme: ‘Cannabis Reclaimed II’.
He said consultations were being undertaken to recommend discrete components of the regulations and to develop detailed drafting instructions.
Wheatley informed that a licensing regime will be put in place to include five licence types and 11 categories; a fee structure; and security and enforcement monitoring mechanisms to safeguard the industry.
The Minister pointed out that terms and conditions will be established for each licence type “because we want to ensure that once you are the holder of a licence that you are fully compliant in every possible way.”
He said that the Ministry is also looking at the feasibility of introducing import and export licences.
Minister Wheatley commended UTech for being the first institution to be granted a licence for research in medical marijuana, which has since been renewed.
The university has established a 25-year lease with the Government Chemist Department to provide laboratory space for researchers.
These researchers are focused on the development of pharmaceutical products, and extensive engagement with community-based farmers and the pharmaceutical community.
UTech’s Acting President, Professor Colin Gyles, informed that the institution’s main interest will continue to be on the medical and scientific aspects of marijuana.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed with the Trelawny Town-Flagstaff Maroon Council to facilitate research-based activities and the testing of herbal products, among other things.
The Dangerous Drugs Act allows for the use of marijuana for scientific, medical and therapeutic purposes, and cultivation and importation for research and development.