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Jamaica’s Trade Minister: U.S. Cannabis Banking Reform Is Desperately Needed

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Jamaica has a long history when it comes to cannabis. The cannabis plant is ingrained in the island nation’s culture, and thanks to cannabis reform efforts, it’s preparing to take its rightful place as an international cannabis industry leader.

The Carribean country is working to finalize rules and regulations for cannabis exports, with its sights set on lucrative international markets such as Germany and Australia. Jamaica’s Trade Minister Audley Shaw stated this week that there’s a major roadblock in the way right now – cannabis prohibition in the United States, and more specifically, banking issues related to the U.S. prohibition policy. Per Bloomberg:

“It’s really a roadblock, no other word for it, it’s a major roadblock in the advancement of medicinal cannabis,” Shaw said in an interview at Bloomberg’s New York office Wednesday.

He’s particularly passionate about marijuana’s potential to reduce opioid addiction rates, and is hoping to bring his message all the way to President Donald Trump.

“The gravity of this situation requires the highest level of focus,” he said.

Minister Shaw went on to point out the blatant hypocrisy of the United States allowing Canadian cannabis companies to list on its stock exchanges yet at the same time prohibiting United States cannabis companies from being able to do the same thing.

Shaw also pointed out that it’s ridiculous that there are serious hurdles for cannabis banking in his country due to U.S. policy while at the same time Canadian cannabis companies are able to offer stock options in the U.S.

Jamaica is not the only country experiencing banking issues due to the current United States cannabis policy. Uruguay has also reportedly experienced issues. The SAFE Banking Act was already approved by the United States House of Representatives. Hopefully the legislation passes soon in the U.S. Senate and is signed into law for the sake of the emerging cannabis industry in the U.S., Jamaica, and elsewhere.