During the 2020/2021 Sectoral Debate in the Jamaican House of Representatives, Hon. Audley Shaw addressed the audience regarding the local cannabis industry. The Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture, and Fisheries disclosed that the Cannabis Licensing Authority has received a total of 705 license applications.
The CLA provides regulatory oversight on the cultivation, import, and export of cannabis in the country. Shaw said that it has issued 63 licenses, granted 23, and conditionally approved over 270 applicants. It has also given a total of 15 expert authorizations to countries like Australia, Canada, and the Cayman countries.
Shaw ended the speech with an optimistic outlook on the future of the Jamaican cannabis industry.
In 2021, he also welcomed talks between the CLA and the Pharmacy Council of Jamaica in the hopes of bringing local cannabis-based medicine to the local pharmacies. Shaw explained that it was ironic that Jamaica imports hemp but does not sell Jamaican hemp in its own pharmacies. Moreover, he expressed the need to develop these products so that they can meet local standards and regulations.
The Pharmacy Council of Jamaica was founded by the Ministry of Health in August 1975. It was tasked to regulate pharmacists, pharmacy owners, authorized poison sellers, and pharmaceutical students. Its establishment was in compliance with the Pharmacy Act of 1966. This government agency keeps the registers for these individuals and crafts standards for the education, conduct, and practice of these professionals.
The Minister said that the industry can achieve success through by-products that improve the users’ quality of life. According to Shaw, these include full-spectrum cannabis oil that may be infused in different ways and nutraceuticals used as a treatment for various common ailments.
He stressed that the nutraceutical sector will benefit greatly from the Export/Import Bill. At the time, it was at the end stages before it could go to Cabinet for approval. Shaw also pointed out how Jamaica is among the countries known for the plant, which has a lot of brand value. He said that time is of the essence here.
According to the Minister, it is important to feel a sense of urgency in terms of development. Shaw also stressed that the export policy has allowed local licensees to export their products to countries such as the United States, Australia, and Germany.