Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions that interested stakeholders may have. In large part the questions will refer you to the relevant documentation held somewhere on this site.

If you have a question that is not covered below, please contact us with your question directly.

General

The 2015 Amendments to the Dangerous Drugs Act allowed for the automatic expungement of cannabis-related offences with a fine not exceeding $1000 or an amount as the Minister of Justice may by Order prescribe. How does this expungement process take place?

Following the  DDA Amendments , by Order gazetted Friday, July 10, 2015 the procedure for automatic expungement was established. As set out in the Order, automatic expungement pursuant to section 28A(1) of the Criminal Records (Rehabilitation of Offenders) Act, can be triggered in one of two ways:

(i)  Upon an application by a convicted person to the Criminal Records Office (CRO) for a copy of that person’s criminal record, the Criminal Records Office shall cause the conviction to be
expunged from the records; and

(ii)   The convicted person visits any parish Divisional Headquarters of the Jamaica Constabulary Force and submits his finger prints to an authorized officer.  That officer must thereafter transmit
those prints promptly to the CRO which will then confirm whether the conviction falls under section 28A(1) of the Act and proceed to expunge the records.  The CRO must notify the Ministry of Justice monthly of all records via method number 2.  

 

 

What do the changes to the Dangerous Drugs Act mean to me as an entrepreneur?

The Dangerous Drugs (Amendments) Act, 2015 allows you to handle ganja for medical, scientific and therapeutic purposes, where the term ‘handling’ refers to the use, growing, processing, selling, transporting and distribution of the product.

What do the new Regulations passed by the CLA allow for?

The Regulations promulgated by the Cannabis Licensing Authority in May 2016 allows for the handling of ganja to be done under a licensing regime.

Where do I get a licence to handle ganja?

You may apply for specific types of licences from the Cannabis Licensing Authority.  

What types of licences are available?

There are five categories of licences with 11 sub-categories. Details on the types of licences and what they can allow can be found here.

Can anyone apply for a licence?

The Regulations allow for certain persons or entities to be eligible to apply for licences.  Information on this eligibility can be found here.

Will I be allowed to have multiple licences?

You may apply for, and receive, more than one type of licence.  Careful consideration will be given to such applications, and all relevant fees will be applicable.

What are the fees attached to each type of licence?

There are three types of fees attached to the licensing process – a non-refundable application processing fee, a licence fee, and refundable security bond. For a schedule of fees, please click here.

Where can I get a copy of the official regulations?

The Cannabis Licensing (Interim) Regulations, 2016 may be found here.

Are there any incentives from the Government for this industry?

All registered Jamaican companies can access benefits under the Omnibus Incentives Regime. There is no need to apply for these incentives as they accessed as a normal part of doing business in the country. The benefits are:

  • A reduction in Corporate Income Tax (CIT) rate by applying an Employment Tax Credit (ETC) set at a maximum value of 30% of CIT due 
  • A Capital Allowance applicable to a broadened definition of industrial buildings
  • Duty free importation of capital equipment and raw material
  • Productive Input Relief (PIR) System, which provides for the duty-free importation of the specific items (i.e. not capital equipment and raw material) where the licensee is designated as an approved farmer or manufacturer

In addition, there is a Production Input Relief (PIR) that allows for duty-free importation of specific items, which can be accessed by approved manufacturers and farmers. For more information on these, you may contact the Industry (manufacturing) and the Agriculture (farmers) Divisions of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries.

Applications and Application Processing

How does the Authority define "fit and proper"?

Pursuant to Paragraph 3 of our regulations,the factors which the Authority may take into account in deciding whether a person is fit and proper for the purposes of this regulation are :

  • whether the person is of good repute,having regards to the matters concerning the person's character,honesty and personal and professional integrity
  • whether the person has the necessary skills and experience to fulfill their obligations as a licensee;
  • whether the person has sound and stable sources of financing or is in financial circumstances which may limit the person's capacity to fulfill their obligations as a licensee;
  • the person's history of compliance with this Act;and
  • where the application is not a natural person,whether the factors specified in this paragraph are met by the persons in effective control of the operations of the applicant.
What documents are required in submitting my application?

Application Forms as well as a listing of required documentation may be found here.  
 

Do I need to submit all of the application forms?

All the forms will be required except in the case of the Consent By Property Owner to Utilise Property for Cannabis (Form 3), which is not required if the property is owned by the applicant. The sections of the forms that you need to complete will depend on the type of licence you want to apply for.
 

In addition to the application forms and supporting documents, what else will be taken into account in reviewing my application?

A pre-licence inspection is a standard part of the application process. There are specific requirements that must be met, for which the details on these can be found here.

Importantly, it should be noted that the inspection takes place after the initial review of the application. It is advised that applicants wait to ascertain whether they have met the initial criteria for licences based on the review of the application and the due diligence process before they expend resources to meet the pre-inspection criteria.

What is the process for the reviewing of applications and what timelines can I expect?

The processing of application is an intensive process given the level of checks that must be done to establish the bona fides of an applicant and whether they are fit and proper to hold a licence. The process can be found here along with the timelines for each step in the process.

What options do I have if my application is denied?

The Dangerous Drugs (Amendments) Act, 2015 allows for an appeal process that will be managed independently of the Cannabis Licensing Authority. An appeal tribunal has been constituted through regulations made by the Minister of Justice. If your application is denied, the notification from the Authority will advise on the appeals process.
 

What is the term of each type of licence?

The cultivator licence expires after one year, while all other licences expire after three years.  However, the annual fee is payable each year and is required to maintain the current licence.

What are the terms and conditions that govern each type of licence?

An outline of general terms and conditions as well as terms and conditions specific to each type of licence can be found here.

Cultivator Licences

How will small farmers be included in the ganja industry?

The Government of Jamaica, and the Cannabis Licensing Authority, is committed to ensuring that small farmers in particular benefit from the industry.   

Arrangements have been made to that effect as follows:

  • Farmers with less than 1 acre of land will pay the lowest category of fees.  

  • Cultivators are the only category that allows for licensing of individuals

  • Special provisions have been made for cooperatives to participate in the industry.  

  • Variety of instruments will be accepted to show ownership or authority to use lands

Which security companies have been approved by the Authority?

The approved security companies are those that have been registered with the Private Security Regulation Authority , the list for which can be accessed here. 

What type of instruments will be accepted to prove ownership or right to use land?
  • If the applicant is the owner of the land – certified copy of the title
  • If the applicant is not the owner of the land, but:
    • Is a lease holder:
    • Lease agreement
    • Consent of Property Owner Form (Form 3)
  • Claims the right to use the land:
    • Deed of conveyance
    • Will devising the property
    • Certificate of necessary formalities, duly issued under the Facilities of Titles Act
    • Other Documentary Proof (such as receipts, sales agreements, deed of gift, etc.)

NB Use of any of the latter four instruments require two statutory declaration of neighbours confirming ownership

I own my land, but the title is not in my name.  Can I get help to fix this problem?

The Land Administration and Management Programme (LAMP) was established in part to help persons with this problem. You may contact LAMP at 876.633.7300.

Where can I get land to grow ganja?

The availability of land for the cultivation of ganja depends on a number of factors, including where you want land, type of land you require, and the acreage you require. A Real Estate Agent is always available to assist in identifying land for varying purposes. In addition, you may apply to the National Land Agency using this application form.  An outline of the Government of Jamaica land divestment process may also be found here.

Are there designated areas for the growing of ganja?

There are no defined areas for growing ganja. However, land to be used for growing must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be accessible by road
  • Must not be within 600m of a registered school
  • Must be able to show some form of ownership or consent of owner.
Are there specific farming methods that must be used for growing ganja?

There are no restrictions on the type of farming method used as long as the terms and conditions of the licence is adhered to.

As a Rastafarian, I grow ganja for religious use.  Am I allowed to sell the excess ganja that I grow?

You cannot sell ganja unless you have a licence from the Cannabis Licensing Authority to do so.

Other Licence Types

Can I set up a facility to manufacture value-added ganja products?

Yes, a facility can be established to operate under the terms and condition of a processing licence.
 

Are there certain products that will not be permitted for manufacturing/processing?

At present, there is no restriction on the items that can be produced under a processing licence. However, the Authority will not licence the manufacturing of products geared towards children and/or at-risk adults unless it is satisfied that these groups will not be exposed to these items. 

As a Jamaican, how do I access ganja for medical purposes?

Medical practitioners registered with the Medical Council of Jamaica to practice medicine may write a prescription for medical marijuana if they believe it is the best treatment for their patient.  

It has been proposed that certain classes of health practitioners may be approved by the Minister of Health for the purpose of recommending ganja for health or therapeutic purposes. Work on this area of the Jamaican health-care industry is currently being led by the Ministry of Health with the support of the Authority.
 

I want to do R&D, do I get a licence from the Cannabis Licensing Authority or an Order from the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology?

You may do either depending on what you intend to do. Orders for the cultivation of ganja for scientific purposes are issued by the Minister of Science, Energy and Technology. The Regulations provide for the Authority to issue an R&D licence. A seamless process is achieved through close consultation between MSET and the Authority.

Can I become licensed to offer ganja for recreational use?

No, the recreational use of ganja remains illegal in Jamaica.

Import and Export of Ganja

Can I export the ganja plant and/or the value added products?

Yes, but not yet for exports of the ganja plant. The Regulations passed by the Authority still do not allow for the export of ganja. However, authority to export preparations of ganja such as extracts and tinctures may be granted by the Chief Medical Officer (CMO)

Can I import ganja planting material or ganja value added products?

Yes, but not yet for imports of the ganja plant. The Regulations passed by the Authority still do not allow for the import of ganja. However, preparations of ganja such as extracts and tinctures may be imported with the approval of the Chief Medical Officer (CMO). The Authority also maintains that it is important to first understand the local indigenous species before introducing new cultivars.

Why isn’t Jamaica allowing the import or export of ganja?

The law does allow for import and export of ganja. But the international rules on trade in ganja are very strict as ganja is a controlled substance and is officially classified as particularly “liable to abuse”, such liability not being offset by substantial therapeutic advantages.

The Authority was charged to develop Regulations in keeping with international obligations, and as ganja remains a restricted narcotic drug based on international treaties, trade is currently restricted. 

As a result, very few countries have issued import licences for movement of the product.  The final regulations which are to be prepared by the Authority with the approval of the Minister of Justice will include the requirements for import and export of ganja. With the support of the Government of Jamaica on the diplomatic front, the Authority will continue to explore options for trade in the future.

Do Jamaica’s current trade agreements consider trade in ganja plant and value added products?

No the subject is not specifically addressed. It is not anticipated that trade agreements will take the industry into consideration until the international position on the drugs has changed.