New Chairman of Jamaica’s Cannabis Licensing Authority Wants Ganja Industry to Earn Maximum Benefits Globally

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Mr. Flynn adds that he has a new strategic vision, which he hopes will find favour with the stakeholders and members of the cannabis industry.

By Ainsworth Morris for Jamaica Information Service

Reforming Jamaica’s Cannabis industry into one which earns maximum benefits globally, is the goal of the newly appointed Chairman for the Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA), LeVaughn Flynn.

He was announced as the new Chairman for this agency of Government on February 23, by Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Audley Shaw.

Mr. Flynn, who has written several articles advocating for the cannabis industry, says he believes the industry is at a very interesting point, where there is transformation and is elated to lead the process that will benefit Jamaicans.

“We’ve seen the rescheduling and reclassification of cannabis by the United Nations and also by the US Government, and those things give us the impression that potentially, in another couple years, we could have cannabis legalised at the Federal level in the US, and when that happens, that completely opens the global free trade for cannabis,” he tells JIS News.

“The big vision [for me] is that the CLA will put all of those things in place to ensure that when the time comes, we are in a prime position to capitalise on the global market. We already have a strong ganja culture. We have the ideal climate and micro conditions to grow very good ganja and I believe those are things we need to capitalise on and use in our favour to strengthen the industry and to realise the true opportunities that exist,” Mr. Flynn adds.

As the Chairman, Mr. Flynn has placed himself in the shoes of licensed cannabis holders, arguing that if he was a licencee, he would want the CLA to be a regulator that is efficient, offers efficient processes, and seeks to create an environment that promotes greater commercial activity.

“I believe in authentic and strong stakeholder relationships and that going forward, there needs to be a strong collaborative effort between the Authority and the licencees or to strengthen the collaborative effort between the licencees and the CLA. That’s important because in preparing for the big vision of being able to capitalise on the global market, we have to do all that we can to ensure that all the right systems and processes are in place,” he says.

For the last four to five years, the focus of the CLA was on regulations, which Mr. Flynn notes will continue to be very important going forward.

“I strongly believe that there is a real opportunity for combining innovation and efficient processes going forward to support the regulatory framework, in order to grow the industry. I see the CLA being a driver of growth for the industry on many levels. I see the CLA and the licencees collaborating on helping to paint the fulsome image of what the local cannabis industry represents,” he tells JIS News.

“I believe that the CLA and the licencees should be collaborating on identifying the jobs that are available in cannabis processing, the opportunities that are available in cannabis cultivation, and the opportunities that are available in driving real commercial growth for investors, for local farmers, the other local players and for the country as a whole,” the Chairman says.

Mr. Flynn adds that he has a new strategic vision, which he hopes will find favour with the stakeholders and members of the cannabis industry.

“I look forward to working with everyone. I look forward to meeting with everyone on a one-to-one basis, coming to where you are at your facility, building a relationship based on authentic communication and truly understanding what are the concerns from both sides, and then finding a middle point where the licencees, the investors, and the Government benefit,” the Chairman says.

The CLA was established in 2015 under the Dangerous Drugs Amendment Act, with a specific role to establish and regulate Jamaica’s legal ganja and hemp industry.

Its mandate is to: create regulations to guide the development of an orderly legal ganja and hemp industry in Jamaica, for the use of the plant and its by-products for medical, therapeutic, and scientific purposes; ensure that regulations created and activities within the industry are in keeping with Jamaica’s international obligations: and to issue licences, permits, and authorisation for the handling of hemp and ganja.

The Authority operates a Licensing and Applications Division as well as an Enforcement and Monitoring Division. Working together, these Divisions will ensure that applications are appropriately reviewed and licences issued to qualified applicants and that licencees are held accountable in accordance with the terms and conditions of the licences.

By Ainsworth Morris for Jamaica Information Service

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