The Jamaican government is offering small-scale farmers who are cultivating marijuana illegally a way out by transitioning them into licensed growers in an effort to eliminate the black market.
Instead of punishing unlicensed growers, the government is helping them transition into the regulated marijuana market to raise awareness, eradicate poverty, and promote sustainable development in the country.
In a press release, the Jamaican Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture, and Fisheries, Floyd Green said that the program (Alternative Development Plan) is focusing on community groups. Green further noted that they are starting with a group of weed farmers, where they provide the seeds, reduced requirements to participate in the program, and they also take them through a learning process.
Green further said that the Alternative Development Plan started in Accompong, St. Elizabeth, and farmers are currently cultivating marijuana and selling it to the medical marijuana sector. She noted that the farmers had grown a total of 44 pounds of cannabis so far.
Green declared that the program implementation has been successful.
In the press release, Green also said that the Alternative Development Plant will now be implemented in other communities to provide quality weed to the Jamaican medical marijuana industry.
The Marijuana Licensing Authority in Jamaica recently announced that it had been exploring a transitional licensing program that would allow small marijuana growers to grow and sell their weed to the medical sector for a maximum of 18 months before they are licensed.
Speaking on a Jamaican radio show, the CLA director of enforcement and monitoring, Faith Graham, said that since small-time farmers cannot afford a cultivator license, which is a must before one can grow marijuana, a transitional permit would be ideal for small scale marijuana farmers.
When Jamaica updated its Dangerous Drugs Act in 2015, it decriminalized marijuana.
Marijuana consumers are allowed to possess a maximum of 57 grams of weed or two ounces of dried marijuana bud; however, if they are caught having it in their possession while wandering out, they are at risk of being given a ticket of $3.
It is prohibited to smoke marijuana or cigarettes in public.
In 2018, locals and tourists had a place to buy and smoke marijuana as dispensaries started opening their doors. The dispensaries in Jamaica are likened to a doctor’s clinic or a coffee shop and hipster boutique. The dispensaries accept only cash.
Tree of Knowledge International Corporation announced that it would be the first marijuana company to be listed on the CSE and Jamaican Stock Exchange. Courtney Betty, who is the company’s consultant for international business development, said that they are hoping this move will attract new investors and strengthen the company’s access to the region.
Betty further said that TOK’s focus is on the treatment of pain using medical marijuana since Jamaica has some of the most potent pain-relieving marijuana strains, and the company wanted access to them.
Being listed on the Jamaican Stock Exchange would also appeal to the Jamaicans living in the diaspora who are looking for ways to invest, said Betty. She noted that being listed will therefore give them a broad investor base.
Industry watchers say that the approach taken to bring small growers into the legal cannabis industry is one that marijuana companies like Plus Products Inc. (CSE: PLUS) (OTCQX: PLPRF) applaud since it spreads the opportunities to as many people in different communities as possible.
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