Pubdate: Sat, 22 Feb 2014
Source: Jamaica Gleaner, The (Jamaica)
Copyright: 2014 The Gleaner Company Limited
Author: James McNish


THE EDITOR, Sir: Why the tiptoeing on the medical marijuana industry?

Recently, Senator A.J. Nicholson, QC, minister of foreign affairs and 
foreign trade, asserted that legalisation of marijuana was not on the 
Government's agenda. Are we to understand that the decriminalisation 
of marijuana for medical purposes is also not on the agenda?

Since 2001, there has been much discourse on the legalisation of 
marijuana, and, recently, the decriminalisation of marijuana for 
medical purposes has occurred. Apparently, the ubiquitous discussions 
on the medical-marijuana industry remain piffling. Implicitly, the 
minister's assertion serves to obfuscate the issue and scuttle the 
progress made so far, rather than to fast-track appropriate 
legislation to support the potential industry.

Global trends indicate many countries are deviating from the 
prohibition of marijuana through scientifically based drug-policy 
reform. We still remain outside the starting block. Interestingly, 
the Obama administration, on February 14, 2014, permitted the banking 
industry to finance and do business with legal marijuana sellers, a 
move that could further legitimise the burgeoning industry.

no logic

In Jamaica, anachronism prevails over logic regarding the economic 
and medicinal benefits of marijuana. Why are we tiptoeing around the 
legalisation of the medical-marijuana industry?

Our emphasis should be on establishing an amalgam of academia, 
private sector and government research investment to evaluate how we 
can maximise the economic and scientific opportunities of medical marijuana.

Over time, Jamaica could be transformed into an entrepreneurial hot 
spot, through new scientific breakthroughs, creating new companies 
and huge wealth. Through this new wave of investment, Jamaica could 
become the oasis of the Caribbean. Undoubtedly, the GDP, balance of 
payment, job creation and medical science will benefit significantly.


UTech lecturer

MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom