Chairman of Jamaica’s Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA), Hyacinth Lightbourne says the authority hopes to grant conditional licenses by the end of the year for the growing and processing of ganja for medicinal and therapeutic purposes and for research and development.

According to Lightbourne, to date, the entity has received 89 applications.

Of the applicants, 25 are for cultivating marijuana, 18 for processing, 14 are for research and development, 8 for transporting, while the remainder are for retailing.

She says the applications are now being processed.

“After all the paperwork has been submitted, we have to evaluate the information given as well as conduct a thorough background check on the applicants.”

The CLA consults with key partners and agencies such as the Financial Investigation Division, Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA), Ministry of National Security, among others, in order to conduct an effective verification and due diligence.

She said the granting of conditional approval means the CLA would have conducted a satisfactory background check and the applicant is then required to implement the necessary measures to get the actual license to enter the industry.

After receiving the conditional licenses, growers must prove that they have the right to use the land on which they propose to cultivate the crop, while transport operators must have proof of ownership or certified evidence that they are permitted to use the vehicle with which they plan to transport marijuana.

The CLA was established in 2015 under the Dangerous Drug Amendment Act, (DDA) with a specific role to establish and regulate Jamaica’s legal marijuana and hemp industry.

It must also ensure that regulations created and activities within the industry are in keeping with Jamaica’s international obligations.

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