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Jamaica government urged to legalise marijuana to improve economy

Executive Director of the US base Drug Policy Alliance, Ethan Nadelmann believes anecdotal evidence suggests it could be the next big crop for the island. Photo: Caribbean360
Caribbean360

KINGSTON, Jamaica - The Portia Simpson Miller led administration is being urged to legalise and regulate marijuana as the nation’s economy could benefit from such a move.

This is according to the Executive Director of the US base Drug Policy Alliance, Ethan Nadelmann who believes that although a study has not been carried out surrounding the benefits of marijuana legalisation, anecdotal evidence suggests it could be the next big crop for the island.

“If you legally regulate marijuana, first you stop wasting tens of millions of dollars per year on enforcing a policy, secondly you reduce the opportunities for police corruption , you begin to raise tax revenue from the domestic sales of cannabis and you can begin to recruit tourism on that basis.”

He pointed out that the United States has no credibility in lecturing any country on changing its marijuana legislations because 20 states in the U.S. has legally regulated marijuana and are reaping the benefits from it.

Meanwhile, well known Jamaican scientist, Dr. Henry Lowe believes the Portia Simpson Miller administration should take a serious look at developing the medical marijuana industry .

Lowe told an editor’s forum at the Jamaica Gleaner on Wednesday that the Government is missing out on billions of dollars, which could be earned from the wide range of cosmeceutical, neutraceutical and pharmaceutical products being developed across the world.

"I think Jamaica has got a clear leadership role in medical ganja, and I am calling on the Government of Jamaica - including the parliamentary Opposition - to take a look at this, so we can move forward and do what we need to do … because it has real potential.”

Lowe argued that while the cultivation of marijuana is illegal and most of the debate has been centred on the smoking of marijuana, emphasis must now shift to the medical and extension, economic potential for Jamaica.

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