Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Floyd Green, says that the Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) is taking steps to respond more efficiently to the growing demand within the industry.
He said that the entity has embarked on a review of its application process, which should be completed over the next six weeks.
“We want to ensure there isn’t too much bureaucracy in the system while still ensuring the safeguards,” Mr. Green said, during his address at the official opening of Epican Montego Bay on May 16.
He informed that the CLA will also be improving site inspection through engagement of two additional officers.
“We are going to be strengthening our human resource framework by bringing in a senior director of operations. This is important because my goal is to reduce the time it takes for someone to get into the legal industry,” he noted.
Meanwhile, Mr. Green said that the Government is in the process of developing the regulatory framework to enable the country to capitalise on the US$100-billion global medical marijuana industry
He said that internationally, there is a steady movement towards scientific exploration, testing and acceptance of the many health benefits of cannabis, and Jamaica sees those areas as highly beneficial and of top priority.
He noted, however, that proper regulations must be in place to enable access to export markets.
“Jamaica has a unique brand appeal in the cannabis world, and that gives us an edge. We also know that we need to take a part of the international market, and we can only do that if we put together export regulations that will make companies like Epican, able to export,” he said.
“We want the entire country to understand the possibilities that await us, especially when we… show that our industry has structures and standards in place and is regulated to meet international guidelines and standards,” he added.
Epican, located on Jimmy Cliff Boulevard, is Jamaica’s new medical cannabis dispensary. The company has a second store in Kingston and is looking to open three additional dispensaries in short order.
“We are happy that the Epican team has seen it fit to extend its facilities to our Second City and to the main tourist shopping area in Montego Bay,” Mr Green said.
He noted that Epican is “uniquely Jamaican”, with the company cultivating certified-organic cannabis at its Blue Mountain farm where the conditions produce the highest-quality product.
“Of course, its branding displays Jamaica’s national colours,” he added.