Opposition Spokesman on Justice, Senator Mark Golding, says ganja farmers must be provided with more support to benefit from the developing cannabis industry.
He was responding to calls made by President of the Ganja Growers and Producer’s Association, GGPA, Orville Silvera.
Silvera has called for a one year amnesty for ganja farmers to allow them to transition properly into legal ganja production.
Mr. Silvera is complaining about the heavy licensing fees required for farmers to take part in the legal marijuana industry.
According to the Cannabis Licensing Authority, CLA, a license costs USD$3,000 or JMD$380,000 per acre of ganja under cultivation.
Mr. Silvera says there’s no way a small farmer can afford to pay that cost under the constant threat of having their fields destroyed by police.
Senator Golding agrees. He says a window of funding must be established for the farmers.
Mr. Silvera also expressed concerns about limitations placed on diaspora participation in the industry. But Mr. Golding says that’s a misinterpretation of the regulations which are intended to protect local interests.
As for an amnesty against the destruction of ganja fields, the Opposition Spokesman says that’s a matter for the Minister of National Security, Robert Montague.
Calls to Mr. Montague’s phone have gone unanswered.