Amanda Feilding and the Beckley Foundation are proud to have joined with the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Industry, Investment & Commerce in hosting such a successful conference: “Jamaica’s Regulated Cannabis Industry: First Steps”. Amanda Feilding, Founder and Director of the Beckley Foundation, says the conferences gave her “great hope for the future and for a new, better, approach to drug policy with a spiritual essence.”
The event brought together a highly knowledgeable and experienced team to articulate how Jamaica is carefully moving towards regulating their cannabis industry. The audience included farmers, industry players, scholars, government officials, foreign observers, and potential investors who came away from the 2-day conference more knowledgeable about the potential problems and opportunities that Jamaica face as they create this change. Feedback even included calls for a similar knowledge-sharing event in other Jamaican cities, recognising the importance of public education on this topic.
Having recently been appointed as a cannabis policy advisor to the Jamaican government, Amanda gave a speech looking back at the failings of the ‘War on Drugs’ and looking forward to the great potential – scientifically, economically and culturally – of Jamaica’s pioneering steps. Jamaica is the first country to create a legally regulated medicinal market for cannabis, decriminalise possession, and protect the religious rights of Rastafarians to use cannabis.
“The conference was better than I could have imagined. The government spoke of the spiritual rights of the Rastafarians and the legalisation of the medical cannabis industry, but most importantly, the spiritual essence of cannabis has been recognised for the first time.”
Minister of Justice, Mark Golding praised the meeting as “a very useful and well-received conference,” while JAMPRO President Diane Edwards lauded the “high level of presenters and a really engaged audience.” The speakers represented the full strata of society with speakers from legal, religious, and health backgrounds contributing to ensure that a comprehensive policy framework is built.
Industry, Investment and Commerce Minister, Hon. Anthony Hylton came out in strong support of strictly regulating the industry:
“There are four hallmarks that we must achieve, in order that the policies that we implement are sustainable and grounded in global best practice. These are: a standards led quality infrastructure; the balance between adopting and adapting to best practices; ensuring optimal economic impact; and intellectual property rights protection”
President of the Westmoreland Hemp and Ganja Farmers Association Ras Iyah called for the region to join together:
“Unity is strength, and as such whether from a regional bloc or from a point of view, that we…make sure that we become strengthen in such a way that we have a say on the international political field,”
Other presenters included the Minister of Justice as well as distinguished presenters from the Cannabis Licensing Authority, Attorney’s General’s Chambers, the University of the West Indies, the Bureau of Standards Jamaica Ltd., Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), and the Ministry of Tourism & Entertainment.
The conference was a resounding success. It clearly demonstrated how a diverse sections of society can come together for rational debate about sensible drug policy change.
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