2 October 2016
The Times report the following and it is worth noting that they aren’t the only Caribbean island to be taking a closer look at the crop.
We believe that if financial authorities are serious about offshore financial services marijuana R&D as well as production may well prove to be a lifeline for these small island nations.
MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica — Jamaica has long bemoaned its reputation as the land of ganja.
It has enforced draconian drug laws and spent millions on public education to stem its distinction as a pot mecca. But its role as a major supplier of illicit marijuana to the United States and its international image — led by the likes of Bob Marley, whose Rastafarian faith considers smoking up a religious act — have been too strong to overcome.
Now, its leaders smell something else: opportunity.
Having watched states like Colorado and California generate billions of dollars from marijuana, Jamaica has decided to embrace its herbaceous brand.
Rather than arresting and shunning the country’s Rasta population, the Jamaican authorities will leverage it. Beyond decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana last year, Jamaica has legalized the use of medical marijuana, with its ultimate sights set on “wellness tourism” and the font of money it could bring.
And for good reason: Jamaica has one of the lowest economic growth rates in the developing world, a striking contrast to the global success its citizens have enjoyed in the worlds of sports and music.
So, having done just about everything experts say a stupendously indebted nation should do — sticking to austere fiscal plans, adopting prudent macroeconomic policies and creating a friendly climate for outside investors — Jamaica is adding marijuana to its arsenal.
The new world order has brought together an odd assortment of characters. At a recent conference at a luxury hotel in Montego Bay, besuited government officials and business leaders mingled with pot farmers and Rastafarian leaders like First Man, who kicked off the conference with a speech on the global benefits of ganja.
“We are talking about a plant that bridges the gap between all of our relationships,” First Man, barefoot with a Rasta scarf around his neck, said to a packed room. “Our planet needs this relationship to happen.”
As the head of a Rastafarian village in Jamaica, First Man was speaking at the first CanEx conference, a gathering of government and local leaders trying to figure out just how the country can most effectively make this about-face, without neglecting international law.
No one is really clear how the industry will evolve. Technically, the United Nations convention on drugs — which requires nations to limit the production, trade, use and possession of drugs — still prevails, meaning that outright federal legalization is, well, illegal.
“In the past, the United States really left no room for maneuver,” said Mark Golding, the former minister of justice who developed the legislation to permit medical marijuana production in Jamaica. “But with the Obama administration creating an opportunity for states to do what they wanted to, it created a window for all of us.”
“Where the real market is, and where the real money is, remains to be seen,” he added. “We are all just preparing for it.”
For some, society is at the beginning of a post-Prohibition era, much as it was with alcohol decades ago, when global brands and untold billions were still to be made.
That’s still a long way off. Jamaica began legalizing the use of medical marijuana last year, but has so far granted only a few licenses to cultivate marijuana for research purposes. No one, as yet, has sold any product legally, but the government is gearing up to meet whatever market presents itself.
“Jamaica for so long has been associated with this plant,” said the conference organizer, Doug Gordon. “Now, it’s a business, an opportunity, one that can change the future of this country through jobs and income, one that can change our G.D.P.”
Jamaica Cannabis Licensing Authority http://cla.org.jm
Apply For A License http://cla.org.jm/apply-licence
Jamaica Observer Report: Cannabis Licensing Authority gets over 200 applications from investors