First Look

GGPJ on recent developments through the CLA to benefit community and small farmers

0 | 2019-01-02 11:36:00

Options for Traditional Ganja Growers and Small Farmers in the Legal Medicinal Cannabis Industry
The Ganja Growers and Producers of Jamaica (GGPJ) and numerous other stakeholders commend the Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) as well as Hon. Minsters Audley Shaw and J. C Hutchinson for the recent initiatives to enable the timely development of the medicinal ganja industry, specifically with respect to provisions made to assist the traditional ganja growers who helped to build the industry decades ago as well as potential small-scale ganja farmers.
The CLA has indicated that small farmers or traditional ganja growers who are constrained financially may enter the licensing regime through exploring options provided under regulation 32 of the Dangerous Drugs (Cannabis Licensing) (Interim) Regulations, 2016.
Regulation 32 of the Dangerous Drugs (Cannabis Licensing) (Interim) Regulations, 2016
Regulation 32 of The Dangerous Drugs (Cannabis Licensing) (Interim) Regulations, 2016 states that, “ the Authority may in respect of any category or sub-category of licences and with the prior approval of the Minister, after consultation with the Minister responsible for finance -
(a) waive the payment of any fee, or security bond, payable under these Regulations or defer the payment thereof for a specified period or
(b) enter into an agreement with any entity, from which any fee or security bond is payable under these Regulations, for the fee or security bond (as the case may be) to be paid in increments over a stated period of time”
Waiver, deferment or scheduling of payment of fees or security bond is not a unilateral decision of the Authority. Therefore:
1. Favorable consideration may be granted for a waiver or deferment of fees, as well as the security bond, application fee, and licence fee upon the applicant satisfying the requisite criteria; and
2. Favorable consideration may be granted for the applicant to set up a payment schedule to cover fees as well as security bond relating to the start -up and operations of the cultivation subject to the applicant satisfying the requisite criteria.
Further, security options have been developed by the CLA to give small farmers and traditional ganja growers the opportunity to choose an option that best suits their financial situation. These options have been developed by the CLA as confirmed by CEO, Mr. Lincoln Allen, to benefit the small farmer who essentially has challenges in finding funds to start a business.
The Authority advises that the options selected will meet the minimum-security requirements necessary to ensure that the Jamaica’s local and international obligations under the relevant laws and conventions are preserved.
Alternative Development Programme (AD Programme) and the Traditional Ganja Grower
The traditional ganja grower will be able to apply to join the AD Programme which was crafted by the CLA in consultation with the Ministry of Industry Commerce Agriculture and Fisheries (MICAF), after having the benefit of visiting several jurisdictions where indigenous farmers and communities were allowed to grow cannabis according to accepted international agreements. Mr. Allen indicated that the AD Programme is a result of a Government Policy which gives the traditional ganja grower an opportunity to transition from illicit or illegal cultivation into the legal medicinal cannabis regime. MICAF, in consultation with the CLA, has started a project in both Accompong, St. Elizabeth and Orange Hill, Westmoreland. Minister Hutchinson has also allocated 10 acres in St. Elizabeth for the surrounding community to become legal medicinal ganja farmers under this Programme. Nine Hundred (900) persons are also going to be employed on the 2400-acre Holland Estate which once grew sugar cane.
The AD Programme will be managed and funded by MICAF, with the CLA providing the requisite technical oversight during the administration of the Programme.
Traditional ganja growers will apply to MICAF to be recognized and declared a Traditional Grower in order to benefit under the Programme.

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