Using current techniques, including track and trace mechanisms, offers the best path to getting voluntary compliance in the local cannabis industry.

That was the word from a product security expert and a former customs chief during a special presentation to members of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC) at the chamber’s headquarters in Kingston on Tuesday, which addressed, among other issues, the importance of striking a balance between introducing effective regulations without placing an undue burden of compliance on the operators being regulated.

Alex Spelman, Vice President of Swiss-based product security firm, SICPA, said cost is a major consideration affecting compliance in any market. He said, “Voluntary compliance, where people are doing their best to provide the necessary information to authorities on a voluntary basis, is a much better paradigm than enforced compliance, which is costly to governments and doesn’t always achieve the desired result.”

Former US Commissioner of Customs, Gil Kerlikowski, emphasised the importance of implicit trust on the part of the public in the quality of consumer products, recounting the case of the hoverboard craze a few years ago.

It was discovered that the lithium batteries on the devices were faulty, and were exploding. Through SICPA’s track and trace work, it was discovered that the utility listing seal – the recognised product/service quality mark on many of the devices – was, in fact, counterfeit, and action was taken to restrict the importation of the devices.

The presentation was jointly organised by the JCC and SICPA. Aspects of it are carried in the accompanying video.


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