The Andrew Holness led administration is seeking to improve the approval process for licences to be issued to stakeholders in the Jamaica cannabis industry.

According to Industry Minister, Karl Samuda, the industry has not progressed as anticipated.

“We are not satisfied with the pace at which approvals are made (nor) the manner in which we anticipated that this industry would take off,” he said.

He was responding to questions from opposition legislator Peter Bunting, regarding the 113 million Jamaica dollars set aside in the 2018/2019 Estimates of Expenditure for cannabis product development.

The queries were made during the recent meeting of the Standing Finance Committee of Parliament.

Samuda said many stakeholders are of the view that the approval process is too “cumbersome” and “lends itself to unnecessary bureaucracy and delay…”

He noted that while two licences have been approved and the licensees have started production, “I think there is a lot more that can be done if some of the bureaucracy is removed”.

Samuda, who is also Agriculture Minister pointed out that one of the challenges being experienced by the sector is the lack of funding, noting that local financial institutions are unwilling to “bank any of the (industry’s) activities” due to what is deemed the informal nature of the business.

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