Jamaica government assisting small cannabis farmers

Kingston, Jamaica – Sixteen communities and approximately 128 small traditional cannabis farmers will be targeted for support over the next three to four years under a programme that aims to eliminate illicit cultivation of cannabis by transitioning farmers into the legally regulated industry.

Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Senator Aubyn Hill says communities participating in the Alternative Development Programme 2.0 will be allowed to cultivate up to 10 acres of land.

“Each participating community will be required to sell output to a person who has a license from the Cannabis Licensing Authority, and we expect that to be in place by April 2023,” he said, as he outlined assistance for small farmers in the medical cannabis industry.

Senator Hill highlighted further support, through the mother farm concept. This is a shared economy approach in which a licensed cannabis cultivator or processor enters into an agreement with a small-scale/traditional farmer to cultivate the crop and sell it back to the mother-farm/licensee.

“When I look across Jamaica… you have people with one acre, two acres, three acres, but they don’t have the working capital. The mother farm concept allows for a big investor,” the Minister explained.

“So, we’re finding ways to make sure we alleviate some of the problems. We’re looking at very real ways to develop medical cannabis growth in Jamaica.”

A release from the Ministry also stated that efforts are being made to have medical cannabis designated as an industrial/agricultural crop through amendment of the Agricultural Produce Act.

Addressing the importation of cannabis from Canada, which several players in the local industry have expressed concern about, Minister Hill clarified that only 44 pounds of cannabis was imported by Cannaviva Jamaica Limited, and the particular strain, tranquil elephantizer, is not found in the island.

He added that since 2018, Jamaica has exported 1 608 pounds of cannabis.

“So, as an exporting country, we have a lot to benefit from and… we want to export more. We want this industry to grow more,” Hill said.

He advised that in May, he will be leading a trade mission to Canada where the cannabis issue will be placed on the agenda. (CMC)

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