Regulations are being developed to guide a legal hemp industry in Jamaica and should be in place next year.Chairperson of the Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA), Hyacinth Lightbourne says a systematic approach is being taken to the hemp industry’s establishment in Jamaica. This development is relative to that for marijuana, “because hemp that is planted too close to ganja breeds the possibility of cross pollination.”She said advice is being sought in relation to minimizing this possibility and “whether or not it has to be done specifically indoors.”“Unfortunately, we live on a small island that (can be impacted by) hurricanes, so the possibility of cross pollination is high,” Lightbourne explained.Indica and SativaCannabis is divided into two main pure strains – Indica and Sativa. Both hemp and marijuana come from the same cannabis species, but are genetically distinct. Hemp is a variety of the Cannabis sativa species that is grown specifically for the industrial uses of its derived products.236 applicationsDr. Lightbourne was one of the speakers at a session on medical marijuana at the Jamaica 55 Diaspora Conference this week. She also disclosed that the CLA, established in 2015 under the Dangerous Drug (Amendment) Act to formulate and regulate Jamaica’s legal ganja and hemp industry, received 236 applications for licenses since its implementation last year.Five categories of licenses are issued covering: cultivation, processing, transportation, retail, and research and development.Lightbourne said that of the 236 applications, two licenses have been granted and 44 conditionally approved, but none of them has been actually issued.Six months for licensing processShe explained the licensing process takes an average of six months. During this period, the requisite checks and balances are conducted to ensure the applicants’ adherence to the stipulations.“If a person has been granted a license but has either not yet paid the security bond or the fees, the license is not issued. So, for those two applicants, that’s what we are waiting on,” Lightbourne disclosed.She reiterated the Government’s commitment to developing a properly regulated marijuana industry in Jamaica.
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