Medicinal cannabis patients will now be able to collect their orders from dispensaries as part of an effort to manage the coronavirus outbreak.
The Jamaican Government has announced that it will allow the sale of medicinal cannabis online—for pickup at "herb houses"—as a means of combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
The interim rule change was made by the Jamaican Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) with input from the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries.
[The CLA] is cognizant of the far-reaching effects of the pandemic and remains vigilant and proactive in taking steps to secure the industry. Herb houses may be deemed a business that offers retail services for the provision of medicine. As such, any exemptions given to these retail services under these orders may be considered applicable to retail herb houses. CLA Director of Enforcement and Monitoring, Faith Graham
As a result, patients who are already registered with a cannabis dispensary will now be able order products from the company's online shop instead.
Government officials say this is part of a broader effort to, "minimize the length of time spent in such licensed facilities thereby limiting the exposure of staff and patients alike."
The policy announcement also laid out a host of new regulations that will require dispensaries to provide significant documenting evidence its online cannabis sales, including the customer's government-issued photo ID and proof of registration in Jamaica's medical marijuana program.
Cannabis dispensaries will also be required to "submit reports and inventory to the CLA in accordance with the required standards and within stipulated timelines."
Earlier this week the CLA also published further details regarding the "Business Continuity Plan" the organisation is currently employing to ensure the cannabis industry remains functional during the coronavirus outbreak.
A key component of the plan will involve the employment of "remote" technologies to oversee marijuana harvests and other medicinal cannabis-related activities.
"This is to allow for the continuity of activities on licensed sites, which is necessary for the sustainable development of the industry, whilst ensuring compliance during the COVID-19 pandemic," the CLA stated.
One unfortunate side effect of the coronavirus pandemic has been the ongoing delay in the release of Jamaica's new cannabis export regulations. The changes were initially planned for public release in late April 2020, after being announced as part of the government's new support program for local industries.
However, since then government officials working for the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture, and Fisheries have been forced to suspend this plan indefinitely, saying that they're unable to "commit to a date" at this time.
"Work is still being done on having the regulations complete. [It is] due to be submitted to the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel," Industry, Commerce, Agriculture, and Fisheries Minister Audley Shaw said.
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