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Fair Trading Commission Recommends Government Funding For Jamaican Cannabis Pursuits

Finding proper funding in the cannabis industry, including cannabis research, is not an easy task. Ask anyone involved in cannabis in any meaningful way, and they will likely be quick to tell you that they are either having a hard time finding proper funding, or in the cases in which fundraising already occurred, it proved to be a harder task than they initially expected.

That is certainly proving to be the case in Jamaica where members of the nation’s emerging cannabis industry are expressing frustration regarding finding proper cannabis funding for their projects, whether it be for their company or their research projects.

The cannabis industry’s cries for help in Jamaica seem to be moving the needle, at least to some degree, with the government’s administrative body responsible for overseeing the Fair Competition Act, the Fair Trading Commission, recently recommending that Jamaica create a funding mechanism to help the cannabis industry. Per Jamaica Observer:

The recommendation follows the completion of a market study of the cannabis industry which revealed that funding is one of the major impediments in the industry.

The FTC report, which was released in August, stated “policymakers should consider establishing [a] source of funding to encourage easier entry/expansion of the legitimate trade of cannabis”.

The agency said this is crucial as potential entrants may encounter difficulties accessing loans through local financial institutions given global efforts to limit the illegal trade of cannabis.

Much of what is going on in Jamaica is also going on elsewhere, due in large part to international banking regulations that make it very hard for traditional lending institutions to work with the emerging cannabis industry.

Banking legislation lagging in the United States is partially to blame for the problem, although, other countries also have many domestic hurdles that need to be overcome in order for the cannabis industry to gain full access to the international banking system and to ever reach its full potential.

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Jamaica Medical Cannabis Development Task Force Report Is Complete

Historically, Jamaica is one of the top countries associated with cannabis on the planet, and a very strong argument could be made that it is the country most associated with cannabis.

The Caribbean island nation is home to a large population of people that use cannabis for sacramental purposes, and it is no secret that the cannabis plant grows naturally all over Jamaica and that it is sought after by people all over the world.

As the emerging cannabis industry continues to spread across the globe and increase in size at an exponential rate it is no surprise that Jamaica is trying to take its rightful place as an international cannabis powerhouse.

Jamaica inched closer to that goal when it was announced earlier this month that the country’s cannabis task force has completed a report that it will present to lawmakers in the near future. Per Jamaica Observer:

The cannabis development task force, set up by the Government, has completed a comprehensive action plan with key initiatives to support the medical marijuana industry, to include small and traditional ganja farmers.

State minister for industry, investment and commerce, Dr Norman Dunn, stressed in his contribution to the 2022/23 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives Tuesday that “the industry is demanding that we aggressively implement the action plan in the 2022/23 financial year, and we are responding decisively”.

Small farmers have complained over the years that although laws were passed to decriminalise possession of a small quantity of marijuana and make way for the growth of a medical marijuana industry, the requirements of the legal framework places them at a severe disadvantage.

It’s not clear at this time exactly what is included in the report, however, as the previously cited media coverage touched on, it’s expected to have a focus on helping small farmers.

Meanwhile, the Westmoreland Hemp and Ganja Farmers Association is promoting its own proposal to help small farmers and entrepreneurs via a cannabis ‘free zone.’

Essentially, the zone would somewhat mimic that of Amsterdam to some degree, where cannabis commerce could be freely conducted within the zone similar to how coffee shops have historically operated in Amsterdam. Only time will tell if the proposal gets adopted.

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