Jamaican leaders have sensed opportunity and want to cash in on the reputation it has for being the “land of ganja.” Recently, Jamaica decriminalized small possession of marijuana and medical marijuana use. They hope to create a medical marijuana tourism industry, or “wellness tourism,” as another means of generating income into the country.
Jamaica has one of the lowest economic growth rates in the world, according to The New York Times. The country has poured millions upon millions of dollars on educating the public on marijuana, and why Jamaica is considered to be a “pot mecca.”
During a recent conference, businessmen and government officials visited marijuana farmers. They also took the time to visit with a Rastafarian leader, First Man. First Man gave a speech on the global benefits of marijuana at the new world order conference in Montego Bay.
First Man said, “We are talking about a plant that bridges the gap between all of our relationships. Our plant needs this relationship to happen.”
One of the reasons for this conference was to attempt to determine a path for creating the industry legally and without breaking international. As for right now, there are no concrete answers regarding what Jamaican officials will decide to do to legitimize their marijuana industry, but may likely require the involvement of the United Nations.
Jamaican officials see how the marijuana industries in the U.S. and Canada are providing jobs, income, and attracting visitors, and they want in on the action too.
Mark Golding, a former Jamaican minister of justice said, “In the past, the United States really left no room for maneuver. But with the Obama administration creating an opportunity for states to do what they wanted to, it created a window for all of us,” and “where the real market is, and where the real money is, remains to be seen. We are all just preparing for it.”
Conference organizer Doug Gordon said, “Jamaica for so long has been associated with this plant. 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 GDP.”
Jamaica is still working on regulatory statutes and taking the proper measures to make sure all legal areas are discussed and handled before moving toward full marijuana legalization.