This is the word from Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Audley Shaw who was responding to a question as to the measures being taken by the Jamaican government to assist medicinal cannabis producers to overcome the difficulty with their bankers, who refuse to open accounts classified as “marijuana or cannabis related business."
In order for Jamaica to do business internationally, it uses what is called ‘correspondent banks’ in the United States through which a majority of Jamaica’s business flow, and have signed international agreements to assist in stamping out money laundering.
The US Federal Government classifies marijuana as a “Schedule 1” drug on par with heroin. Banks that handle medical cannabis money can be charged with money laundering. The cannabis businesses, therefore, is stuck working with cash, which causes problems for more than just tax collection.
Minister Shaw is however confident that US President Donald Trump will soon be moving to “free up” medicinal marijuana on a federal scale, in line with the favourable action being taken by some thirty states in the US.
“It is something we are working very hard on. The Truth is that we have to work with the US Government to establish a special regime,” Minister Shaw told Wiredja.com in an interview.
“I was very heartened at the fact that a few weeks ago, President Donald Trump in response to a question from Senator Mitch McConnel, said that the government will have to take another look at medicinal marijuana,” said Shaw.
Pointing to the developments in the nedicinal marijuana industry, Minister Shaw said “Indeed this is necessary because the Food and Drug Administration of the United States, has in fact approved a drug from marijuana now, for the treatment of seizures among children.”
“They have even granted a licences to a Jamaican scientist, Dr. Henry Lowe, to develop what they call an orphan drug, for the treatment of a special type of leukemia. That licence has been granted to a Jamaican entrepreneur,” he emphasized.
Minister Shaw has not been alone in his predictions, former White House Communications Director and Trump confidante Anthony Scaramucci, was quoted in Marijuana Moment as saying that the US president will legalize marijuana after the upcoming midterm elections.
“I do. I think he’s going to legalize marijuana,” Scaramucci told Succeed.com founder Charles Peralo in an interview this week. “I think he’s waiting for after the midterms. I think he’s on the side of legalization.”
Whether Scaramucci is basing his prediction on a hunch or insider knowledge is unclear. He might have only lasted 10 days at the White House, but he still claims to talk with the president on occasions.
Last month Rep. Dana Rohrabacher , Republican of California, said in an interview that cannabis reform would be on the White House agenda after the midterms and that legislation would be in the works “as early as spring of 2019.”
“I would expect after the election we will sit down and we’ll start hammering out something that is specific and real,” the congressman said.
Earlier this year, Trump said he was inclined to support a bipartisan bill introduced by Senators Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts and Cory Gardner, Republican of Colorado, which would amend the Controlled Substances Act to protect states that legalize cannabis from federal interference.
Trump also embraced medical cannabis during his presidential campaign, saying that he knows people who have benefited from using it.
The Industry, Commerce and Agriculture minister remained strident in his support of the government position on medicilal ganja: “The issue is the FDA of the United States and thirty states of the United States, have all come to recognise that marijuana, ganja, cannabis, call it whatever yu want, is now a drug that has to be reckoned with,” Mr. Shaw declared pointing to the varied types of the substance.
“And this drug, you have different varieties. You have some that can be produced which are a low in the highly addictive THC. But high in the medical proponents called CBD.
“So we in Jamaica, and for me as Minister, through the Cannabis Licencing Authority, want to focus right now on medicinal marijuana: High CBD, low THC. Over time, with proper lobbying, we believe that the US government will come around to accommodating the financial arrangements for medicinal cannabis.
Minister Shaw, in commenting on the legalization of marijuana in Canada said “the opening of Canada which became legal on the 17th of October, will be yet another source of pressure on the US government because, bear in mind, thatb the US government themselves despite they are saying you can’t federally move from one state to the next, they have allowed a Canadian Cannabis company to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange!”
“So what you’re seeing is a culmination of events that are collectively leading to the inevitability of the approval by the United States government, of legitimate enterprises in medicinal marijuana. Understand one thing, Opoids are killing off Americans. Close to a hundred thousand people died from opoids last year. Medicinal marijuana is seen as a worthy and credible alternative to opioids,” shaw pointed out.
“The acceptance of marijuana business by many Canadian banks is yet another indication that the industry is becoming more and more legitimate globally. It’s legitimate in Israel; Its legitimate in 28 countries in Europe; it is legitimate in thirty states of the United States despite the position of the federal government; It is now fast growing in Latin America, places like Colombia, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, all these countries, its only a matter of time.!”
“So what we have to say to the local people is do yu things right, get yu things organized, work with the CLA to do it properly because we are working at lobbying at the highest level now to get the US government to free up the programme so that we can have a legitimate, growing, global industry for medicinal marijuana,” minister Shaw concluded.
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