Issues in the establishment of a therapeutic cannabis market under Jamaica’s Dangerous Drugs Amendment Act 2015.
Int J Drug Policy. 2020 Sep 15;86:102945
Authors: Rychert M, Emanuel MA, Wilkins C
INTRODUCTION: In 2015, Jamaica became the first Caribbean country to decriminalise personal cannabis possession, legalise home cultivation and establish a commercial therapeutic cannabis market via the passage of the Dangerous Drugs Amendment Act (DDAA).
AIM: To critically analyse implementation of the legal therapeutic cannabis market under the DDAA.
METHODS: Synthesis of findings from semi-structured face-to-face interviews with 22 key informants (KIs) from the government, industry, academia and NGO sector, unstructured interviews with illegal growers, and field observations of licensed and illegal operators.
RESULTS: KIs identified a number of challenges in implementing therapeutic market provisions under DDAA, including a limited buy-in from key government agencies; delays in developing a framework for quality assurance; and lack of access to banking services. Public sector actors stressed the challenges imposed by the UN drug conventions and need to maintain favourable diplomatic relationship with the US federal government, with the consequence of prioritising enforcement to prevent diversion and inversion. Implementation of the Alternative Development Programme in two traditional cannabis-growing communities experienced challenges with land titles and frictions in local communities. High compliance costs and limited skills to meet the envisioned medical standards presented barriers for traditional farmers. Many KIs conceptualised the purchasing of cannabis from the regulated market as « recreational » rather than medical, reflecting the marketing and limited information on medical applications at point of sale. Licensees’ reliance on foreign investment puts local industry at risk of predatory shareholder agreements, but also provides needed investment and expertise.
CONCLUSION: External international factors (e.g. UN treaties, correspondent banking with the US) and conflicting domestic government agency visions for the reform played a significant role in the DDAA implementation. As cannabis law reform spreads beyond Western jurisdictions, consideration of pre-existing social, cultural and economic conditions of developing countries will be important.
PMID: 32947242 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]
Source: ncbi 2