The Government of Jamaica has announced big plans for the ganja industry and view the weed as a potential cash cow for the country.
“Jamaica cannot afford to miss this boat. Where there is no vision the people perish so we must change our mindset and get ready for success. We must be bold while ensuring we meet all of our international obligations,” Finance Minister Audley Shaw, declared while opening the 2016/17 Budget Debate in Parliament on Thursday.
Shaw indicated that at his constituency level attempts will be made to organize and encourage small farmers to participate in the industry by establishing farms and building extraction facilities to process and create value-added products.
“We will build an industry in Jamaica where we process and manufacture value -added products and not export raw materials. This is about an opportunity for small farmers who will now earn from land which is presently sitting idle,” he said.
Shaw also pointed to the Jamaica’s Tourism industry as an area where Jamaica could benefit by playing a lead role in medical tourism.
Jamaica is uniquely positioned, he said, to play a leading role in the medical marijuana industry.
He noted that the current marketing situation demands urgent attention and Jamaica cannot afford sit idly by but must seek to capitalize on the opportunities that currently exist.
The country “must move with a sense of urgency and turn ganja which has been a negative for Jamaica into a major asset creating wealth for our country,” Shaw said.
Pointing overseas, he said the American market for legal marijuana is predicted to rise from US$6.7 billion in 2016 to US$21.8 billion by 2020.
“Canada has built a major industry which is opening up for full legalization next year. The Dutch ministry of Health is exporting medical marijuana to Canada, Italy, Germany and the Czech Republic. Israel which is the largest recipient of United Sates aid has over 12,000 medical marijuana patients and is leading the world in research on medical marijuana,” he further explained.
Davy Desmond, Readers Bureau, Fellow
Edited by Jesus Chan
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