Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, those excited about the promise of commercial export of cannabis from Jamaica will have to wait even longer, as new regulations have been delayed. 

It’s not yet clear how long the country will have to wait. Regulations were initially due at the end of April, but now, Jamaica’s Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture, and Fisheries claim they are unable to commit to a date by which this guidance will be published. 

Audley Shaw, Minister of the Ministry, explained that “work is still being done on having the regulations complete.” While a lot of work has already been completed, it is still “due to be submitted to the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel” and must be reviewed. 

While this is disappointing, the delay was expected in Jamaica. Many believe that COVID-19 will set things back by as much as a year when it comes to cannabis progress in the Caribbean. Still, some cannabis companies that were planning to do business with Jamaica are now concerned. The Green Organic Dutchman, based in Canada, has partnered with Epican Medicinals in Jamaica, but they’re now being forced to revise this plan and forgo expansion to export sites in Jamaica, instead focusing on Canadian growth. 

Moving Forward

Still, despite the delays, many are happy that progress is finally moving forward in Jamaica, even if the logistics will be set back for some time. 

“We firmly believe that there is scope for work to be undertaken within the global drug control framework, which encourages pioneering solutions aimed at ensuring the availability of and access to controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes while preventing their diversion,” a statement issued by its delegation said. 

“We are a forward-thinking organization,” Felicia Bailey, the director of Research Development and Communications at Jamaica’s Cannabis Licensing Authority, explained. “Even now, our licensees are able to export by coming to us with import permits from the country they wish to export to and we do what is required to facilitate that.”

Jamaica may have to wait a bit longer, but they are still set to become major players in the Carribbean cannabis industry once export regulations are finally approved.

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