History was created on Wednesday (October 18) with the issuing of the first two licences by the Cannabis Licensing Authority of Jamaica (CLA) for local entities to legally operate in the cannabis industry.
Everyting Oily Labs was presented with a processing licence, while Epican received a licence for cultivation, during a press conference held at the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries in New Kingston.
Portfolio Minister, Hon. Karl Samuda, said he is pleased to be part of “this historic occasion”.
“I think this is a tremendous occasion, and it’s one that marks the commencement of things that are going to be great for Jamaica,” he said.
He commended CLA “for being diligent, for being steadfast, for being unswerving in adhering to the rules and regulations laid down under the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act that gave rise to this organisation”.
CLA Chairman, Hyacinth Lightbourne, said the occasion represents the start of what will be a thriving medicinal ganja industry in Jamaica.
“Although it has taken some time to get to this historic occasion, we have remained committed to getting it right and to ensure that Jamaica’s stake in the global medicinal cannabis industry is never compromised and remains sustainable. During the process, we have endeavoured to remain in dialogue with our applicants every step of the way, and we are confident that they have satisfied the rigours of the regulations,” she said.
Ms. Lightbourne informed that another three applicants have been granted licences and are completing their requirements to be issued.
In addition, 57 are at the conditional approval stage, and another 209 applications are being processed.
Chief Executive Officer, Epican, Karibe McKenzie, told JIS News that his company will be involved in ganja cultivation, processing, retail, research and development.
He said a list of products that the entity intends to develop has been submitted to the Ministry of Health.
“This licence that we just received gives us the go-ahead to begin cultivating. We have a 46,000-square-foot facility for growing,” he informed.
“We still have conditional licences for processing, retail, research and development… (but) without the cultivation, without the plants, without the raw material, we have nothing, so this is the beginning stage of the company,” Mr. McKenzie noted further.
Director and CEO, Everyting Oily Labs, Rory Liu, said his company is focused on the processing of cannabis into oils for the medical and therapeutic industries.
“We have a wide range of products and capabilities, both for the local and export markets. This licence is the main focus of our company, and it will help us grow massively in the country as well as the global market,” Mr. Liu told JIS News.
CLA is an agency of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, established in 2015 under the Dangerous Drugs Act with the power to make and oversee the implementation of regulations for licences, permits and other authorisations for the cultivation, processing, distribution, sale and transportation of ganja for medicinal, scientific and therapeutic purposes.
Photo: Yhomo Hutchinson