KINGSTON, Jamaica, Friday July 6, 2018 – Jamaica’s Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Audley Shaw says he is committed to providing the leadership to mobilise the requisite resources and personnel for the development and success of the medical cannabis industry.
Addressing the opening ceremony for the University of Technology’s (UTech) third annual Jamaican Medical Cannabis Integration Symposium (JAMECANN) yesterday, he noted that several other countries are “rushing” to take advantage of this “multibillion-dollar global industry”.
Shaw emphasised that Jamaica “cannot afford to miss this boat”, and encouraged all Jamaicans to be “bold and move with a deep sense of urgency” towards tapping into the derivable economic benefits.
He said Jamaica cannot ignore the tremendous growth that has taken place globally in the medical cannabis industry, adding that he is currently formulating a strategy to help fast-track its development locally.
However, Shaw said the Government is mindful of its responsibility to abide by local and international laws in treating with cannabis.
The Minister reiterated amended provisions under the Dangerous Drugs Act for possession of two ounces or less of the weed. Additionally, he said there is acknowledgement of the Rastafarians’ rights to use cannabis as a sacrament.
He underscored the need for a close working relationship to be established between the Ministry of Health and State regulatory agency, the Cannabis Licensing Authority, “because there are clear demarcations there in respect of the roles and responsibilities”.
Importantly, Shaw added, is the need for consensus on the outcomes of this undertaking to develop the medical cannabis industry, while emphasising that public education will be pivotal.
He also lauded UTech’s role in and contribution to this dispensation, adding that “it is great to have a partner such as UTech bringing much-needed science to help (to) shape our path”.
“The more we are able to educate the general public… the greater (I believe will be) the pace of general acceptance. So, it is in that role that I look forward to working with you and others, including our international partners, to make Jamaica the best of the best in the world. Jamaica is building a medical cannabis industry as the rest of the world is doing,” he said.
The two-day event is being held under the theme ‘Merging Science, Spirit and Business’.
The symposium is focusing on several key topics, including the ‘Legislative Implications of the Dangerous Drugs Act (2015)’, and ‘Medical Cannabis Product Innovation’.