“The more we are able to educate the general public… the greater the pace of general acceptance,” Shaw said. “So it is in that role that I look forward to working with you and others, including our international partners, to make Jamaica the best of the best in the world. Jamaica is building a medical cannabis industry as the rest of the world is doing.”
These words are quoted from the Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, the Honourable Minister Audley Shaw. HIs current position is a testament to his above statement. The need for public education is paramount and the message is clear, Jamaica IS missing out BIG TIME!
This is no longer speculation and Government agencies like the CLA (Cannabis Licensing Authority) are of the right mind-set, but, a concrete challenge is bringing the Jamaican public into the fold. The lack of awareness is profound and a fundamental shift is necessary if Jamaica is to truly capitalise on a global, medical, industrial, health, entertainment and tourism industry, that Ganja will offer. The naysayers will object to this, but Jamaica was almost handed a destiny in Ganja and it is now time for that destiny to be fulfilled.
The billion dollar figures have been quoted many times and the numbers sound like annual GDPs of nations or taboo industries like porn. Nobody would extoll the economic benefits of the porn industry for Jamaica and I only use this as an example of an industry that is taboo. Unfortunately Ganja’s taboo is tied solely to decades old propaganda. These grave inaccuracies and outright falsehoods were proliferated by entities and governments who had vested economic interest in suppressing the cultivation, research and exploitation of the Cannabis plant. I don’t want to make this sound harsh, but in reality and excluding incarceration, the inaccessibility of Ganja and Ganja products has killed people, literally ended lives, plain and simple. It is almost in our collective human interest to explore and exploit this gift from the skies and the earth.
As Ganjactivist1 and a human being, I am in full support of Minister Shaw’s call to action and will heed that call. I follow a belief that government’s sole purpose, beyond trade agreements and taking care of the indigent; is to lay the foundation for businesses to prosper. This will require freeing up the industry and a period of trial and error for the output in order to reap the expected rewards.
The Ministry of Health continues to voice concerns about the negative health effects of Cannabis. Statements of the order that profits cannot outweigh public health, doesn’t seem to take into consideration the enormous health benefits Ganja affords. At least the right steps are being taken by the WHO (World Health Organisation) to re-classify Marijuana as a plant with medicinal value and have it removed from the “Dangerous Drug” list.
“Jamaica welcomes the WHO’s planned review of the United Nation’s classification and governance of cannabis, whose medical value must be determined by science and evidence-based analysis,” stated, Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton at the beginning of the year. The Minister’s concerns are only valid in as much as they are true. The truths are coming out about Cannabis, and the health benefits far outweigh the negative societal affects the Minister fears. Add the economic potential across many sectors of the society and I would have to assert that modern knowledge trumps, previously held misconceptions.
Jamaica’s ecological makeup permits it to grow some of the best originally grown outdoor marijuana. Much like our beloved Blue Mountain Coffee, Ganja too benefits from these inherent climactic and biological factors. The soil upon which we walk and from which we reap, is rich in its mineral contents, as a result of the volcanic activity that gave rise to the land of wood and water.
There and brands to be developed and branding to be done. Ganja cultivation can take on varying dynamics with some farms producing crops for research and product development and other for the best quality smokable pain relievers for those on an extended stays for rehabilitation for whatever ails them.
The fact of the matter is that Ganja is so much more than that a plant people smoke to get a buzz, it is a healer, is it construction materials, it’s soap, it is an economic driver and needs to be viewed as such.