Jamaica: Ministry of Industry Hires Consultant For Medical Marijuana and Industrial Hemp

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Jamaica's Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce on Friday announced that BOTEC Analysis has been hired as a consultant for the development of regulations to guide Jamaica's nascent medical marijuana and industrial hemp sectors. At the end of the consultancy, BOTEC Analysis will submit to Jamaica's Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) a final report with regulatory recommendations, which will include, but are not limited to, licensing, market sizing, taxation, and organizational structures.

Over two months, BOTEC Analysis will conduct on-the-ground research and a series of interviews with stakeholders in the Jamaican government as well as marijuana industry participants, local business leaders, scientists, police departments, medical associations, and consumers. Researchers will take into account the role of proprietary strains, intellectual property, patented processes, and traditional cultural and religious practices in the development and operation of the industries.

"BOTEC Analysis will also incorporate global best practices and lessons learned from other jurisdictions in the development, administration, and management of medical marijuana and hemp," the company, which also oversaw implementation of Washington state's problematic legalization law, announced.

In February 2015, Jamaica enacted the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act of 2015, which decriminalized marijuana for medicinal, sacramental, and recreational use. The bill also created the CLA, which will regulate and license the production, distribution, and sale of industrial hemp as well as marijuana for medicinal, therapeutic, and scientific purposes.

"As one of the most well-known and respected marijuana brands in the world, Jamaica is uniquely positioned to achieve increased economic growth through the development of regulated medical marijuana and industrial hemp sectors," said Hon. G. Anthony Hylton, Jamaican Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce. "We are pleased to have BOTEC Analysis on board as we consider the policy options that will further enhance Jamaica's economy, provide value-added jobs, and promote public health and safety, while ensuring our adherence to the country's international obligations."

BOTEC Analysis, based in Los Angeles, served as a consultant to the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board for the implementation of Initiative 502, Washington State's voter initiative to legalize and regulate the production, distribution, and sale of marijuana for non-medical purposes. "BOTEC's project team includes marijuana industry professionals, researchers, and academics with decades of hands-on experience in a wide range of areas, including marijuana cultivation, testing, and retail, tax compliance and structuring, agricultural economics, supply chain modeling, and international drug control treaties and obligations," the company claimed in a prepared stastement.

The project will be led by BOTEC Analysis advisor Steven Davenport, who served as project manager for BOTEC's consultancy in Washington, along with lead analyst Bryce Pardo, a former official from the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) of the Organization of American States.

Dr. Mark A. R. Kleiman, founder and chairman of BOTEC Analysis who led the Washington effort, will feature prominently as a senior consultant. Kleiman is also Professor of Public Policy and Director of the Crime Reduction & Justice Initiative at New York University's Marron Institute of Urban Management, a member of the Committee on Law and Justice of the United States National Research Council, and co-editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis.

Kleiman is a co-author of the books Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know and Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know; author of Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results and Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control; and editor of the Encyclopedia of Drug Policy.

"In formulating cannabis policy, Jamaica will need to balance the promotion of economic development and tourism against public health needs, all while complying with international law and treaties," said BOTEC Analysis project lead Davenport. "We are excited to apply industry best practices and lessons learned from other pioneering jurisdictions to help Jamaica create a regulatory environment for cannabis that is hospitable to entrepreneurship, foreign investment, and innovation while limiting problem use and abuse."