In a statement yesterday, the Association said “it is depressing to see the state of the regulated industry, being restricted at the bottom and stifled at the top.”
“It is cruel to see ganja farms being destroyed, while hard working Jamaicans try to eke out a living under this Covid -19 pandemic and economic hardship facing hundreds of thousands of Jamaicans,” the statement continued.
The Ganja Future Growers and Producers Association noted that “it was distressing to see other countries around the world developing a far more inclusive, vibrant and dynamic cannabis industry.”
Launched in April 2014, the organization was established to “represent the best interests of the various stakeholders, giving primacy of place to the traditional ganja cultivator for a specified period.”
In addition, it aimed to:
- Lobby the Government of Jamaica for the establishment of a properly regulated cannabis industry in all aspects, cultivation, agro-processing, medicinal and its many and varied by-products;
- Promote control, education and taxation as important planks of a regulated cannabis industry;
- Provide relevant and timely information and technological support, aimed at growing the industry, bring prosperity to members and other stakeholders and revenue to the government.
The statement pointed out that among the reasons for the failure of the Jamaica Ganja Industry industry included the fact that there has been:
- no amendments in six years to what was in April 2015 a progressive piece of legislation and today is a restrictive policy document;
- No amendments to the bureaucratic and overreaching compliance regulations;
- Still operating under the negative nomenclature of the Dangerous Drugs Act;
- The failure to establish a Cannabis Industry Stakeholders Council;
- A failed Alternative Development Programme;
- The long awaited Transitional Permit still unfinished;
- The failure to complete Export Regulations, promised by the government on at least six different announcements over the past three years;
- No update to the Ministry of Health classification and treatment of cannabis and cannabis derived products.
The Ganja Growers and Producers Association declared last June, that "the regulated cannabis Industry in Jamaica is a failed industry in terms of where we are today, but It can still be rescued and executed as an inclusionary income generating enterprise for thousands of Jamaicans with a new approach."
The Assocition pointed out that local cannabis industry was a failed experiment for the most part, "in our advocacy to have the industry more inclusionary and accessible to small and traditional farmers as the major plank of the industry.
In spite of our consistent efforts we have failed to adequately protect the ganja industry, as apparently hemp cultivations which have been given access to hundreds of acres of government owned lands and which can put the Jamaica ganja industry to serious genetic risk, will be permitted under far less restrictive and expensive infrastructure licensing requirements than licensed ganja cultivations.
The organization noted that "the PNP Administration which ushered in the very important and progressive legislation in 2015, did not have the vision to see the industry as a ‘ground-up’ industry and placed the industry in the wrong direction and on the wrong footing, from the very outset in 2015, while the present JLP Administration was not sharing a vision for a ‘ground up’ industry either, cemented the industry as a prohibitive and restrictive one, with its draconian type relegations.
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