Pubdate: Fri, 03 Jun 2005
Source: Jamaica Gleaner, The (Jamaica)
Copyright: 2005 The Gleaner Company Limited
Author: Paul Chang
Note: Paul Chang is founding director of the National Alliance for the 
Legalisation of Ganja.
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Popular)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


I AM now calling on Prime Minister P.J. Patterson to follow through on
the democratic process and to implement the recommendations of the
Chevannes Commission. In a globalised world, Jamaica's natural
competitive advantages are our music and culture, our tourism assets
located close to the primary markets of the world, organic agriculture
and niche market in agriculture of which organic ganja, in terms of a
recreational, medicinal and spiritual herb, will bring tremendous
benefits to Jamaica.

Forty per cent of Jamaicans break the law every day. What type of
respect is that? There is a disconnect between our laws and the
practices of our people and they need to be brought in line. There are
countries now which have licensed medicinal cannabis.

(A pharmaceutical company's) projection in 2002 shows something like
US$2 billion in sales, naturally from cannabis-based medicines,
targeted at just three symptoms and just in the First World markets.
Can you imagine the potential that we are sitting down on here in
Jamaica in terms of a natural comparative advantage? Our agriculture
would be revived, community tourism would mushroom and we would have
the people decide which communities want to develop a ganja-based
economy in terms of agriculture, in terms of medicine, in terms of
jobs and employment.

Regulation and Taxation

How can we expect the communities to cooperate with the law
enforcement officers when the communities are in support of ganja and
a ganja economy? How can we expect the communities to support the
police when so many thousands and thousands of tourists are coming
here because they want some good herbs because it goes with our music
(and) because that is what they hear about Jamaica?

The idea is not to legalise ganja but to tax it, to regulate it and to
control it, to move the hundreds of millions of dollars that go into
the black market ... into the tax revenue system, to build schools and
hospitals, to provide information to our youth on alcohol and on
tobacco and ganja, on cocaine, on heroine, on sex and on everything
and to help build up the country so that our communities are no longer
fighting with the police force but working with them.

(Ganja is a good medium) in terms of freedom, in terms of respect for
the law, in terms of crime and violence, in terms of moving money from
the black market into the formal economy, into research and
development, into medicines and into our tourism and agricultural
markets in a globalised world. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake