University Professor Scolds Cannabis Licensing Authority For Slow Coach Approach

University of the West Indies (UWI) Principal Professor Archibald McDonald has expressed his disappointment with the Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) for the slow pace at which the authority is issuing licenses for legal operation in the cannabis industry.

McDonald, who was speaking at MEDICANJA’s introduction of six new cannabis products to the pharmaceutical market, said three years after the Dangerous Drugs Act was amended the CLA has only issued two licenses.

“It has been a hard journey. We have had the amendment to the Dangerous Drugs Act three years ago and it has been a difficult journey; a very difficult journey.”

“It has been much too slow, and some people say we have already missed the boat, but if we have missed it, Minister [Andrew Wheatley] we have to catch it. We have to swim and do all we have to do to catch the boat,” McDonald told the launch at the Savannah Suite of Eden Gardens in St. Andrew.

He argued that while the United States has been putting pressure on countries, including Jamaica, to refrain from exploring the industry, 21 American states have legalized cannabis, and some have approved cannabis for recreational uses.

“They have some of the largest ganja farms in the world in California and Kentucky, run and funded by the Federal Government of the United States. They have registered patents on products. Therefore, we need not be afraid of the United States. The truth is that even as they make some noise and drug enforcement, the fact is nothing will happen to us in Jamaica,” he stressed.

He urged the CLA to end bureaucratic practices that he believes are hindering the development of the cannabis industry in Jamaica as the global marijuana market is expected to reach a value of US$56 billion by 2025.

The CLA, which is an agency of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture, and Fisheries, was created in 2015 under the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act, to establish and regulate Jamaica’s legal marijuana and hemp industry. It has so far received 236 applications for licenses.

“The University of the West Indies has no license… the University of Technology, to my knowledge, also has no license to do research on cannabis, MEDICANJA has no license,” McDonald said


Yvad Billings, Readers Bureau, Fellow

Edited by Jesus Chan

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