Jamaica releases regulations for medical cannabis exports

By the time July was over, the CLA had "issued" a total of 40 cannabis business licenses. A further 54 licenses had been "granted" to Jamaican cannabis companies.

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

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The rules for Jamaica’s Medical cannabis exports are expected to be finalized within the next few weeks. This news comes following an announcement made by Agriculture Minister Audley Shaw.

Medical cannabis exports in Jamaica are an eagerly anticipated feat, with a number of stakeholders patiently waiting for the regulations to be released.

Once the regulations have been confirmed, an influx of investors are likely to get involved in Jamaica’s medical cannabis export industry. Industry executives believe that the industry is guaranteed long-term growth with this new venture. However, the rules are subject to change.

Called the “Dangerous Drugs (Cannabis Import and Export Licensing) Regulations, 2019,” the primary aim – based on the details of Jamaica’s draft rules for medical cannabis exports – is as follows:

“To establish a comprehensive licensing regime to regulate the importation and exportation of ganja for medical, therapeutic or scientific purposes in conformity with the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and minimize the risk of the diversion of ganja in illicit traffic.” 

The Ministry of Justice is expected to have the final say, according to a spokesperson for the Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA).

The authority will be responsible for dealing with applications for the import and export of Jamaican cannabis. Cannabis import and export licenses will be opened up for scientific, medical and therapeutic purposes.

54 cannabis business licenses in Jamaica approved at the end of July, 40 already issued 

By the time July was over, the CLA had “issued” a total of 40 cannabis business licenses. A further 54 licenses had been “granted” to Jamaican cannabis companies.

Licenses are categorized by cultivation, processing, research and development, retail, and transportation. The CLA now welcomes two new license categories – Jamaican cannabis imports and exports.

Residency requirements – which have also been imposed in other Caribbean countries – mean that license applicants must prove that they have already resided in Jamaica for a minimum of three years before they submit a license application.

The rules clearly state that Jamaican cannabis exports will be forbidden to countries in which the plant has been banned at the federal level. A prime example is the United States, where cannabis is still illegal as per the government’s ruling.

“The Authority may refuse to grant an export permit under these Regulations if the Authority has reasonable grounds to believe that exportation would contravene the laws of the importing country or any country of transit or transshipment,” according to the draft rules.

The transferring of cannabis export permits in Jamaica will not be permitted by the CLA.

“An export permit granted under regulation 21 shall not be transferable and is valid for six months from the date of issuance, unless renewed for a further period in accordance with regulation 39 (renewal of license) …” the draft regulations stipulate.

Who can apply for a medical cannabis export license in Jamaica?

Applicants must be “fit and proper” in order to be deemed a suitable applicant for a medical cannabis export license in Jamaica. Before cannabis import-export permits can be issued in Jamaica, the CLA demands an up-to-date police report spotlighting the applicant’s prospective employees.

According to the CLA, applicants will be reviewed based on the reputation of their character, trustworthiness and integrity; both on a professional and personal level. 

Skillset is of great importance to be considered for an export permit in Jamaica, as well as the applicant’s financial stability. Individuals who have previously had a cannabis-related license revoked or suspended may struggle to gain acceptance from the CLA. The same applies for applicants who are associated with businesses that lack a solid reputation.

What documentation is required to apply for a medical cannabis export license in Jamaica?

A number of different types of documents will be requested by the CLA prior to reviewing an applicant’s submission for a medical cannabis export license in Jamaica.

Included in the list of required documentation are audited financial statements, a valid tax compliance certificate, a police report of the applicant/company director and a copy of the Certificate of Incorporation/Business Registration Certificate of the business.

The application fee for a medical cannabis export license in Jamaica is $20 and decisions will be made within 20 business days of applications being submitted. If and when approved, an additional $40 is required to secure secure a medical cannabis export permit in Jamaica.