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JM | Apr 20, 2022

Mark Golding | Small farmers facing exclusionary barrier to participation in cannabis industry

/ Our Today

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April 20, otherwise known as 420, is the day each year on which the legalisation and decriminalisation of cannabis are celebrated, and a day of resistance and protest wherever cannabis remains criminalised.

As we commemorate World Cannabis Day 2022, I take this opportunity to salute those who struggled and advocated for the implementation of this legislation, especially our small farmers and the Rastafarian community.

They endured many years of oppressive anti-ganja laws and law enforcement, and must be credited for making Jamaica a globally recognised brand for cannabis.

When in 2015, as Minister of Justice, I developed and piloted the legislation to decriminalise cannabis usage, my aim was to liberate and empower the people of Jamaica and foster the creation of a lawful, inclusive and dynamic ganja industry for our country.

Mark Golding, leader of the opposition.

It is an indictment on what has happened since 2015 that, while progress has been made to develop the medicinal and therapeutic cannabis industry in Jamaica, the regulatory regime has been permitted to evolve into an exclusionary barrier to entry for many Jamaicans, especially small farmers, who ought to be substantial beneficiaries of the reform.

I am committed to changing this, and ensuring that the legislation serves its intended purpose of being a catalyst for inclusive development of the ganja industry in Jamaica, so that all Jamaicans can benefit from the significant economic opportunities the industry is capable of creating. We must lead by example, so that other countries that are looking to secure benefits for their people from creating a lawful ganja industry can look to Jamaica as a shining example of enlightened and effective reform.

  • Mark Golding is leader of the opposition and president of the People’s National Party

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