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Oct 26, 2017

Jamaica Takes Baby Steps Toward Legalization

Kamina Johnson-Smith

Along with decriminalization is a broader conversation of legalizing the marijuana industry as a viable contributor to a country‘s Gross Domestic Product.  That prototype would be similar to a model that has been implemented in Denver, Colorado where significant economic growth has been recorded, following legalization of the drug.

 

Kamina Johnson-Smith, Foreign Minister, Jamaica

“Again, to deal with the international context, regulation of the industry is very tight.  It is very tight and therefore we have not had the monetary windfall that has happened in Colorado where, you know, it’s to be retailed and wholesaled and cultivated on a whole and taxed.  That has not occurred in Jamaica and as we’ve indicated, as we continue to advocate for a change in the international framework, people say if they do it in Colorado why can’t you do it here?  Colorado is not a small, vulnerable economy.  They have their own systems, their own, even they cannot bank interstate, it all has to be dealt with internally and therefore it’s apples and oranges.  We are internationally dependent on trade and relations.  So the way in which we have done it and ensuring that we are at all stages sharing information with our international partners, et cetera, we have managed to ensure that there is less concern about the route that Jamaica is taking because of course there was the concern that there would be a massive export, an increase in illegal drug trading, et cetera, because we continue to maintain our efforts in respect of our border control and security and as I said, the quantities are not recognized as [significant].  So people are impatient, there are strong advocates for greater cultivation and for decriminalizing the whole thing, but we have not taken that route.  We have not taken that route because we recognize the vulnerabilities of our economy so we are trying to manage the process.”

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