During the previous administration a major milestone was achieved, after decades of debates, studies and research papers ganja was decriminalized. This though a small step opened the door to potential riches and intellectual properties and patents.
The decriminalization though a good first step does not go far enough and we should really be considering full legalization. Legalisation of ganja would open up many avenues for government revenue collection as well as boosting employment in Jamaica especially amongst the youth.
If ganja were legalized then the farmer would be able to harvest in peace assured that his crop won’t be harassed by the police. He would be able to bring said harvest to a central location like coffee and then get paid based on the quantity and quality.
Full legalization also makes sense if we are to truly focus on STEM subjects in schools. Ganja as many a Jamaican will tell you has multiple uses from painkiller to appetite opener. If we are to become a player on the medical market then research has to be done without restriction, this can only be done with full legalization as decriminalization leaves those wishing to work on it (without a scarce license) in a grey zone and that is a major turn off for many researchers.
Legalisation could be a blessing for the manufacturing sector as well. With the weed legal they can manufacture clothes, cloth, rope and pharmaceuticals. That coupled with green energy could see Jamaica again becoming a player on both regional and international fields.
Fear should not be a factor in this discussion. We are already behind California as it relates to ganja and with Canada looking like it will legalize the weed we need to act fast if we are to have any viable influence in the ganja economy.
Ganja has the capability to be what cane once was, a job creator. With jobs ranging from growing all the way to making paper jobs are created and varied jobs too which would only be beneficial with our high unemployment rate.
Ganja could be a blessing but we need to act quickly. Hopefully this is something that both government and opposition can work together on because if we don’t act fast we may lose the chance forever.