Jamaica to lower cannabis industry entry barriers for small farmers

Jamaica is preparing to lower entry barriers to the medical cannabis industry for small and subsistence farmers.

A proposed new permit would cut fees for those farmers and allow for variations to strict infrastructure and security requirements.

The Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) is undertaking consultations on the draft policy, called the Cultivator’s (transitional) Special Permit Policy, which is currently in an advanced stage of completion.

The CLA said the permit is geared toward small or subsistence farmers who find the current licensing system for cannabis cultivators to be too challenging or expensive to navigate. Subsistence farmers typically grow crops for use by their families.

“This policy intends to provide this group of farmers with an additional avenue to enter the medical cannabis industry as well as an opportunity to transition from being the ‘holder of a special permit’ to the ‘holder of a license,’” the CLA said in a news release.

The policy proposes that the permit be valid for two years.

In that time, the CLA said it expects permit holders to use their profits to make preparations to transition to licensed status upon expiration of the permit.

The CLA is holding a series of consultation sessions on the proposal.

Feedback will be used to refine the policy before relevant regulations are finalized.

The agency is proposing that all fees will be 50% lower than the current fee for a Tier 1 License. That would make a special permit $1,000.

Tier 1 cultivation licenses limit canopy space to 1 acre or less.

The draft policy also proposes that applicants may apply for a waiver, deferment or payment plan if the reduced fees are too high.

A “means test” will be utilized by the CLA to ensure the special permit is utilized by the intended groups.

The first consultation was held June 26 with members of the Jamaica Licensed Cannabis Association, and more sessions are planned for the coming weeks.

Matt Lamers is Marijuana Business Daily’s international editor, based near Toronto. He can be reached at mattl@mjbizdaily.com.