Jamaica is regarded as a paradise, a beautiful island in the sun with white sand beaches and delicious local food offerings. In recent times however Jamaica is greatly associated with Reggae, Rastafarianism and marijuana. It is often said that no other country has a higher consumption of marijuana than Jamaica and with the recent legalization of the herb, the country is expecting to cash in greatly on the marijuana trade.

There have been strict marijuana-related laws in the country for decades, but two years ago the ‘ganja law’ was passed. This law decriminalized marijuana but only to a certain extent stating that Jamaicans can cultivate and consume marijuana on a daily basis but the number of plants per household should not exceed five and smoking should be restricted to family and friends and within your home.

Rastafarians have a lot more freedom as they can grow and transport unlimited quantities of marijuana as long as they consume it during religious practices and don’t sell it to other parties. Marijuana legalization has the Jamaican government looking to establish a medical marijuana industry, boost tourism through new initiatives, invest in future plans to create jobs and will end the longstanding agitation between consumers of the drug and the state.

Establishing A Medical Marijuana Industry for Revenue

Since the recent legalization of marijuana the main aim of the government is to create a community that will establish a new foundation for building a medical marijuana industry to effectively produce cannabis products. Jamaica is expected to earn up to USD $300 million over the next three years if the government moves in to capture what is described as a rapidly growing global market.

Nutraceuticals and medical cannabis are seen as the cash cows that the country needs. Jamaican Scientist Dr. Henry Lowe advised the government that if Jamaica is to compete internationally then swift action must be taken to avoid being overtaken or becoming redundant. Known internationally for his cancer and nutraceutical research he said that if Jamaica is to overcome its financial crisis through exports, the country needs to move away from relying on banana, sugar and bauxite to non-traditional products and services.

Pills, oils, nutrients, creams and inhalations are expected to become a vital part of the industry. Cannabis is seen as Jamaica’s most lucrative product yet it is far behind countries such as Europe, Israel and the US as it relates to legislation. The government will benefit as well as planters once everyone is familiar with legislation and standards before the cultivation begins.

Boosting Tourism Through New Initiatives

The legalization of marijuana in Jamaica is truly geared towards tourism profits! When you want sunshine, beaches and marijuana you think of Jamaica. The Cannabis Licensing Authority is looking to create kiosks or dedicated desks where visitors can pick up a license to sample some of the best marijuana in the world. These kiosks would be regarded as ‘ganja atms’ and are gaining popularity in several countries. It is mainly aimed towards persons seeking marijuana for medical purposes but persons seeking it for recreation can have up to two ounces throughout their stay in the country.

It is said that the dispenser system for tourism is expected to bring in significant revenue with proper regulation and permitting. The government wants to maintain good control of the regime for tourists seeking to get the ‘real Jamaican ganja experience’. The kiosks are expected to be handled by persons with medical experience and will be providing additional jobs as soon as the project is kick-started.

Investing in Future plans for Job Creation

The newest innovative forms of cannabis regulations in Jamaica are expected to improve the local economy by creating jobs and improving agriculture. Having Jamaica as a team player in the cannabis industry will have benefits across the board, even for the industry itself. It is no secret that Jamaica’s land and climate is ideal for growing and with a cash-cow like marijuana, the country may finally experience true development.

The country has opened its doors to international companies and investors that will encourage more research and development for both a production and medical standpoint. Now that marijuana laws are relaxing internationally the government is embracing its most lucrative agricultural commodity without fear of public scrutiny. It is working hard to make Jamaica the epicenter of cannabis production and research.

Legalization Ends the Agitation

Growing marijuana has been one of the most stressful jobs for planters as most of them usually have to sleep close to the fields due to fear of raids and robberies. Police officers are usually their biggest fear as they burn marijuana fields upon discovery or cut down and confiscate the crops. This is why the new law paves a positive road for the cultivators as they will now be able to reap rewards from their hard labor. There is still much fear for police officers and this has resulted in ganja cultivators putting trust in the Minister of National Security who has vowed to protect them.

Time will show whether or not the ‘island in the sun’ with develop itself as a major player in the marijuana industry as it already has the most important commodity needed for a successful start. Its best asset apart from the weed itself is the terrific climate conducive to growing top-notch marijuana plants. The regulations have to be strict for the time being to encourage a professional and healthy cannabis climate. In the meantime there should be much education done across the board to ganja farmers and those looking to enter the industry.

Zunammie Keren

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