Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Audley Shaw, has reiterated that subsistence farmers will play a key role in the development of the local cannabis industry.
“Jamaica has some of the most experienced and knowledgeable local cannabis farmers, who have been growing high-grade ganja for decades. As the industry develops, there will be increased demand for cannabis, and our subsistence farmers will help to fill this demand,” he noted.
The Minister, who was making his contribution to the 2021/22 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (May 11), said that the proposed Cultivator’s Special Permit aims to reduce the barriers to entry for subsistence farmers by having lower fees and fewer infrastructural requirements.
He said that the Cultivator’s Permit will employ a concept where the farmers can operate their satellite farms and sell their crop at a set price to mother farms run by licensees.
This farming concept will be utilised to implement a Mother Farm Pilot Project, then integrate and provide a pathway for small cultivators to matriculate to a Cultivator’s Permit.
“The project will test the framework for the Cultivator’s Transitional Special Permit and inform the development of guidelines and protocols to operationalise the permit,” Minister Shaw said.
He noted that achieving the goal of developing and growing the local industry requires “strategic collaboration” and he called on the Ministry of Health and Wellness “to become an active partner to ensure that we expeditiously agree to policies and strategies that allow for immediate expansion and speedy implementation for this industry in order to compete on the global platform”.
He said that the medical and pharmaceutical fraternity, the tourism industry, academia, the security forces, customs, border control, and the public are all needed “because the cannabis industry touches all these stakeholders and will positively impact them as the industry flourishes”.
“We cannot allow Jamaica to be left behind in this industry, which has been recognised for its important medicinal properties by the United Nations, which has resulted in its removal from Schedule IV of the Single Convention on Narcotics Drug, 1961,” Minister Shaw pointed out.