(JIS) — Chief Executive Officer of the Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA), Lincoln Allen, says there is great scope for development of a local medical cannabis industry, citing opportunities for research, innovation, and preparation and export of new products.
“We have the potential, technical competence and will to do (these),” he said.
Allen was addressing the opening ceremony of the University of Technology’s (UTech) Jamaican Medical Cannabis Integration Symposium (JAMECANN) at the institution’s campus in Papine, St Andrew on Thursday.
The two-day event was held under the theme: ‘Merging Science, Spirit and Business.’
Allen said that internationally, there is a steady movement towards scientific exploration, testing and acceptance of the many health benefits of cannabis.
He pointed to the United States Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) recent approval of Cannabidiol for the treatment of epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease, noting that the development brings great anticipation for transformation of the global medicinal cannabis space.
Allen said that locally, the plant’s medicinal benefits are steeped in a culture of home remedies and there is need for continuous research that could provide solutions to improve the health and well-being of persons and transform the industry.
Complementing such research, he noted, are “high priority activities” involving testing, analysis and developing the necessary standards and benchmarks.
“This is very important for the safe use or consumption of products locally… but becomes even more important for (the) exportation of products,” he pointed out.
Allen said the CLA is mindful of the important role that stakeholders such as academia have to play in driving the sector’s successful and timely development.
He argued that as opportunities continue to be created for all Jamaicans, “academia must be recognised and included in all areas of the industry as an important contributor and part of the value chain.”
“It is through research, often pioneered by academia, and through the hosting of symposia and the inclusion of various working groups such as these (JAMECANN) that has helped to broaden the scope of understanding, learning, knowledge transfer as well as innovation, which this industry currently needs in order to be viable and sustainable,” the CEO said.
He is encouraging all stakeholders “to support fora like these as we chart a new and fulfilling course in contributing to Jamaica’s economic growth and development, through the advancement of the country’s medicinal cannabis industry.”