Jamaica: Caribbean Collective for Justice (CCJ) calls on government to establish Cannabis Licensing Authority

Loop Jamaica

Advocacy group, the Caribbean Collective for Justice (CCJ), is calling on government to focus on additional revenue instead of taxes, for example, with the establishment of a Cannabis Licensing Authority, which was stalled since the legislation was approved in the Senate in 2022.

In a statement the CCJ, which began a petition to legalise cannabis which led to the eventual decriminalisation of the plant in 2019, is calling on government to repeal the “unfair and socially destructive property tax” and legalise cannabis instead to allow small farmers and the Rastafari to cultivate and export cannabis.

“Most homeowners are struggling financially and for the government to resort to extorting property tax after the horrific and pauperizing Covid lockdown is totally reprehensible and unconscionable. If it is revenue that the government so desperately needs, why is the Prime Minister delaying in setting up the Cannabis Licensing Authority, which could issue licences and tax producers, retailers and exporters?

“The cannabis industry is earning millions of US dollars for the Jamaican government and people, with 12 dispensaries operational across the island. What is preventing us from following in their footsteps and adding cannabis to our health and tourism offerings? Why is the government so reluctant to regulate a market that is worth billions annually but is currently being supplied by Latin American mafias?”

“The Caribbean Collective for Justice is demanding an answer to all of these very pressing questions, which directly impact the crime situation, as literally thousands of jobless young men are employed by gangs to run their blocks, where they sell the illegal “kush”, which may contain fentanyl, cocaine and God knows what else. The continued trafficking of this kush is a real public health issue that the government can easily solve by allowing local farmers to grow cannabis to meet local demand, in accordance with accepted regulations.”

The CCJ said it’s ready to lobby the government to follow through on its promise to bring a regulated legal supply of cannabis to citizens, who “have every right to use cannabis medically and therapeutically”.

In May 2022, legislation for the establishment of a Cannabis Licensing Authority was passed in the Senate.

The Bill would allow for the cultivation, production and export of cannabis and cannabis products, subject to approval by a cannabis licensing authority.

Under the Bill, any Trinidadian citizen, permanent resident, or CARICOM citizen over 18 years of age, or any company, firm or co-operative society, can apply for a licence, once the relevant criteria are met.



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