Ganja licensing in Jamaica: Learning lessons and setting standards


Ganja licensing in Jamaica: Learning lessons and setting standards

24 April 2020

By Axel Klein & Vicki J. Hanson / Interdisciplinary Centre for Cannabis Research

Executive summary

In 2015 Jamaica decriminalised the possession of two ounces of cannabis and the cultivation of five plants per household for personaluse, and allowed licensed cultivation and trade for medical and religious uses ...

The Dangerous Drug Act Amendment (DDAA) has dramatically changed some aspects of law enforcement and eased the tensions between the community and the police. Cannabis p>mers, particularly young men, are no longer subject to police harassment.

A number of cannabis dispensaries and herb houses have built up thriving businesses, but small farmers are struggling to reap economic benefits from the new opportunities in this emerging industry. The growth of integrated seed to sale businesses will preclude the opportunities for small farmers and processors and should be reviewed.

The Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) has increased the speed at which licenses are being awarded,improved communications with applicants and willingly waives or defers fees for small farmers. But the agency by itself cannot overcome structural problems impeding small farmers such as landlessness, lack of capital and the requirements of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB). The alternative development programme has stalled and needs to be better designed for purpose, funded and supported if obstacles faced by poor farmers are to be overcome.