Starting a Marijuana Business in Jamaica: Rules, Laws and Fees

Jamaica has finally decriminalized and legalized the use of marijuana (ganja) and is looking to expand into the medical and retail marijuana business. As it stands now, you're allowed up to two ounces for personal use and can grow up to five plants. The rules, laws and fees for starting a ganja related business whether medical or retail are as follows. First of all in order to operate any business in Jamaica you have to be a citizen of the island or prove that you have lived there for at least three years. So, no you can't just move to Jamaica and open a marijuana retail store. If you're Jamaican or if you have business associates from the island and you want to get into the legal ganja business you will have to apply for licenses and go through the step by step legal process with Jamaica's Cannabis Licensing Authority

These are the fees associated with each category type, as well as a non-refundable application processing fee and a security bond payable per license applied for. The fees, which are all quoted in United States Dollars but are also payable in Jamaican Dollars at the Bank of Jamaica daily prevailing rate, are based on global benchmarks.

Type of Fee Type of Licence Annual Licence Fee
Application Processing Fees
(Non-Refundable; Payable after application is reviewed for completeness)
Individual US$300 (Fee per application)
Company, Business or Cooperative US$500 (Fee per application)
Licence Fees
(Non-Refundable; Payable when Licence is Approved)
Cultivator's Licence Tier 1 US$2,000
Tier 2 US$2,500 per acre
Tier 3 US$3,000 per acre
Processing Licence Tier 1 US$3,500
Tier 2 US$10,000
Transport Licence - US$10,000 for the first vehicle and US$1,000 for each additional vehicle
Retail Licence Herb House US$2,500
Therapeutic US$2,500
Research and Development Licence Experimental US$5,000
Analytical Services US$5,000
Security Bond (Refundable)
(Payable when Licence is Approved)
Cultivator's Licence Tier 1 US$2,000
Tier 2 and 3 US$3,000 per acre
Processing Licence - US$3,000
Research and Development Licence - US$3,000

The costs for starting up a Marijuana business in Jamaica are relatively cheap compared to doing the same business in the legal weed markets of America. And since there are still no retail or medical stores opened up in Jamaica, it leaves plenty of time for foreign investors to invest in the Jamaican ganja market. A good way to get started would be to purchase some property in Jamaica, this would meet the requirements of being on the island for at least three years. The big concern in all of this is how much money is there to actually be made? Let's be realistic, as soon as you get to Jamaica you're being showered with weed. It's not like it's in short supply there. The over-saturated market might make the costs of doing legal weed business there unprofitable. Your only hope would be to sell to the tourists, but when the same tourists have the options to get weed basically everywhere and most likely for cheaper prices, one has to wonder if it's worth the money starting a legal marijuana business in Jamaica after all. Maybe you'll be better off enjoying the island's many other great treasures and just relaxing on the beach with a giant spliff in your hand. No business plans, and no worries, just the irie sounds of reggae, dubbing among the break of the waves.

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