Any person/ entity wishing to operate in the legal cannabis industry in Jamaica is required to go through the application process as set out in the Dangerous Drugs (Cannabis Licensing) (Interim) Regulations.
The Cannabis Licensing Authority (“CLA”) was established in 2015 by the Dangerous Drug (Amendment) Act. The CLA primarily issue licences for cultivation, processing, retail sale, transportation and research of legal ganja and hemp products.
There are five categories of licences with eleven sub-categories. These categories are: Cultivator’s Licence, Processing Licence, Transport Licence, Retail Licence and Research and Development Licence. An applicant can apply for more than one type of Licence. You can submit multiple applications at once if you are interested in operating in multiple aspects of the industry. For example, you may want to have a licence to cultivate and then another licence to process or transport the cultivated product.
There are fees associated with each category type, as well as a non-refundable application processing fee and a security bond payable per licence applied for. All fees are quoted in United States Dollars The licence fees ranges from US$2,000- $10,000.
The licencing requirement also states that individuals wanting a Cultivator’s Licence must be living in Jamaica for 3 or more years and companies who are applying must be registered with the Companies Office of Jamaica and must also be substantially owned and controlled by a Jamaican resident.
It should also be noted that applicants are required to submit police reports and individuals with criminal records will not be allowed to apply and likewise, companies with directors with local or foreign criminal records will not be allowed to apply.
The process can be onerous as the requirements are often licence-specific and categorized. It is therefore advisable that applicants consult an Attorney-at-Law.
Abi-Gaye White-Thomas B.A., LL.B (Hons)