420 with CNW – Jamaica Allows Online Medical Cannabis Purchases as COVID-19 Fight Intensifies

May 27, 2020 16:20:47

The coronavirus pandemic has shown just how essential the cannabis industry is, with numerous territories allowing medical and recreational pot shops to continue operating during the lockdown and granting them certain permissions to keep transactions between staff and employees smooth and safe. The Jamaican government, for instance, recently announced that it will be allowing medical marijuana patients to make cannabis purchases online for pickup at ‘herb houses’ to maintain social distancing and help combat the spread of the coronavirus.

The interim rule change was made by the country’s Cannabis Licensing Authority [CLA] in coordination with the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries and announced last week. They are designed to keep pot shops, or ‘herb houses’ open for businesses while minimizing the public’s exposure to the coronavirus. Under the new rules, patients who have already registered with a cannabis dispensary will be able to order products from the dispensary online and pick them up.

According to regulators, the move is “meant to minimize the length of time spent in such licensed facilities thereby limiting the exposure of staff and patients alike.” Faith Graham, the Cannabis Licensing Authority director of enforcement and monitoring said in a press conference that the agency is “cognizant of the far-reaching effects of the pandemic and remains vigilant and proactive in taking steps to secure the industry.”

Marijuana dispensaries that want to opt in to online ordering will have to submit documents including government issued photo identification and proof of registration in the medical cannabis program to the CLA. They are also required to “submit reports and inventory to the CLA in accordance with the required standards and within stipulated time lines.” In light of the coronavirus pandemic, the CLA has also crafted new but temporary rules regarding cannabis imports and exports.

The change in policy is a reflection of the global legal cannabis landscape. Most territories that deemed cannabis an essential service also allowed online ordering, curbside pickups and in some cases, home deliveries to reduce congestion in the shops and keep both staff, customers and medical marijuana patients safe. A large percentage of medical marijuana patients are advanced in age and have compromised immunities, putting them in greater danger of succumbing to COVID-19.

The new rules will allow these patients to stay safe as they purchase the medicine they need and it will keep herb houses afloat at a time of great financial upheaval.

Experts say such a proactive approach in dealing with the challenges faced by the cannabis industry at this time gives sector players like Round Meadow Holdings Corp. and Champignon Brands Inc. (CSE: SHRM) (OTCQB: SHRMF) (FWB: 496) hope that even the other obstacles in the way of the industry will also be eventually addressed.

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