By LeeWEpstein

July 20, 2020


Last Wednesday, Jamaica unveiled a new plan to revise its regulations surrounding the cultivation and processing of medical cannabis.

The new rules place particular emphasis on quality control and compliance for the medical and scientific use of cannabis. They aim to bring the Jamaican cannabis industry in line with international best practices and enhance the attractiveness of its cannabis exports. These regulations include the guidelines of ASTM International, a global standards organization.

Although we are a local industry, we are global,” said Floyd Green, Secretary of State for Industry, Trade, Agriculture, and Fisheries. “We focus on exporting our cannabis flowers and products around the world. We are fully aware that for us to have a seamless export system, people need to assure that the cannabis is grown here and the products made here are safe and meet the highest standards.

The new Jamaican “cannabis standards” would use four international ASTM standards that cover, notably, analyzing, and handling of cannabis plants and products. These standards coincide with three new local developed standards for cultivation, processing, packaging, labeling, and handling.

Such an approach is in the interest of small states such as Jamaica. It allows us to have some influence on [ASTM] procedures and, by extension, on international cannabis standards,” said Machel Emmanuel, Vice Chairman of the Cannabis Technical Committee, and also a post-doctoral researcher on the subject of cannabis at the University of the West Indies.

Last month, responding to criticism from small farmers, Audley Shaw, the Minister of Industry, Trade, Agriculture, and Fisheries, introduced revisions to the regulatory framework for the cannabis industry to facilitate access to the sector. A “special permit” should pave the way for small farmers who currently have difficulty obtaining a license to enter the medical cannabis industry.

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