Ganja regulator hunting fourth CEO in two years
The Cannabis Licensing Authority, CLA, is set to appoint its fourth CEO in two years.
The office holders since 2021, of which two were interim bosses, were Daenia Ashpole, Faith Graham, and Lincoln Allen.
“As my tenure as CEO of the CLA comes to an end, I reflect on the journey with great appreciation for the work done in improving the local cannabis industry,” said Ashpole in a message to stakeholders seen by the Financial Gleaner. “While I have demitted the CEO’s office, I remain confident that the CLA will stay its course in ensuring the development of a sound and resilient medicinal cannabis industry in Jamaica.”
The latest data on CLA site shows an industry with over 106 issued licences, 30 applications are awaiting licences, and a further 333 applications are at the conditional approval stages.
The position of CEO remains a difficult job, according to a senior government source, speaking on condition of anonymity, who added that the pay isn’t great at roughly $6.5 million plus an additional $1.5 million for travelling.
Ashpole became ‘interim CEO’, based on CLA press releases, having replaced another interim CEO, Faith Graham, who was tapped to act in the position after former CEO Lincoln Allen demitted office on February 28, 2021. Allen served in the post for three years since March 1, 2018.
Applicants have until February 10 to apply for the vacant CEO position.
That person’s job will entail “strategic leadership of the Cannabis Licensing Authority, while managing the regulation of Jamaica’s legal cannabis industry within the context of the strategic plan,” the agency said.
The applicant should hold a post-graduate degree in economics, business administration, or any other related field, and have at least six years of senior management experience
“I really hope they can put someone inside that actually has run a profitable business so they would have the means of streamlining the efficiency of how it [CLA] is run,” said a member of the cannabis industry whose business is regulated by the CLA.
GROWTH IN REVENUES
“It would also be nice if they have at least five years of knowledge inside a regulated cannabis industry so we can actually move this forward in terms of growth in revenues, acceptance of edibles and basic amendments to the act, which has not been changed since 2015 where several states have moved from medical to recreational in same time period,” the person said.
The Cannabis Licensing Authority is an agency of the Ministry of Industry, Investment & Commerce. It was established in 2015, under the Dangerous Drug Amendment Act, with a specific role to establish and regulate Jamaica’s legal ganja and hemp industry.
The agency is now chaired by Chris McPherson, who did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Previous chairs included LeVaughn Flynn and Cindy Lightbourne.