Jamaica Information Service
KINGSTON (JIS) — Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, says the Government is moving to ensure that the regulatory framework is in place for the medicinal ganja industry.
“We no longer need to be looking for perfection, let us start something and we can build on it. Already, we are seeing many models that we can look at, but there is going to be an inherent Jamaican model that we could export to the world,” the Minister said.
Mr. Paulwell was speaking at the opening ceremony of the third biennial science and technology conference and exposition, held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on November 10.
The Government in September announced its intention to amend the Dangerous Drugs Act, to lay the foundation for the establishment of regulatory regimes to govern the cultivation and use of ganja for medicinal and scientific purposes, as well as non-medicinal industrial hemp.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Cannabis Commercial and Medicinal Research Task Force, Dr. Archibald McDonald, says it is important for the new public policy on marijuana to be accompanied by a public education campaign.
“There are some sensitive issues that will not be solved overnight as the laws are changed. As we prepare to do business, we must think not just of the future growers, but of the existing growers and how we make the transition smooth,” he said.
Dr. McDonald noted that it is the first time there have been discussions with such vigour, looking at the scientific application of a plant.
“For this to be successful, there has to be a science reform curriculum in both academic and vocational institutions,” he suggested.
The Chairman said efforts should also be made to inspire greater interest in the scientific exploitation of other medicinal plants.
“As we plan we must think about the wider society with a view to encourage what may evolve in a long awaited scientific revolution in Jamaica. It is the science and not politics nor economics that develop countries,” Dr. McDonald emphasized. He also called for the reform of the various international treaties that deal with marijuana, such as the1961 United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, to which Jamaica is a signatory.
“Let us call on governments, including our own, and also the governments in CARICOM to use diplomatic channels to start the work to get these treaties and conventions amended. Let us seize the moment,” he urged.
The conference, which is being held from November 10-12, will focus on medicinal ganja and other natural products, and will seek to highlight the myriad of possibilities for the use of medical marijuana as a solution to good health and wellness.
It will also provide a forum for researchers, academics, investors, students and members of the private sector, public sector and the general public to participate in lectures, presentations, exhibitions and discussions and to be informed of developments in the Natural Products sector.