Sat | Jan 19, 2019

Is It Ganja To Our Rescue?

Published:Thursday | January 15, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Marijuana plant

Let's grow ganja. Grow green gold, grow the economy and grow out of debt! Yes, indeed, many Jamaicans have been on a high and it is not only from the smoking of marijuana. They are captivated by another high which comes from their eager expectation for the legalisation of marijuana and the economic transformation they envision from its large-scale production for export and the development and manufacture of products, especially for medicinal purposes.

The medicinal benefits versus ill effects of cannabis (ganja) remain quite controversial and are not the focus of my argument. It is rather to emphasise the mindset of the constant hope and search that we have for that miraculous personality, product, policy or mega-project which will result in rapid transformation and solve our socio-economic challenges.

This mindset is not a new phenomenon. From the days of Bustamante and Norman Manley, following through to Joshua, Papa Eddie, Fresh Prince, Sista P, Driva and Prince Andrew, the advent or emergence of a new political leader was characterised with heightened optimism for social and economic transformation. Their failure or success in this regard is dependent upon whether one's analysis is obscured by an orange or green screen.




In relation to the hope of a transformative product, mega-project or policy, these traditionally follow the very predictable pattern of a grand announcement, followed by a whole lot of excitement ending with less than expected, little or no achievement. In recent times, a lot of excitement was generated by JEEP, the logistics hub on Goat Islands, the 381-megawatt energy project, the mining of rare earth metals and the influx of investments which were to be garnered from our showcasing Brand Jamaica at the London Olympics. And it is now ganja's turn!

Will ganja be legalised and live up to expectations? Have we learnt from past experiences and carefully considered all the pros and cons? Or will failure to act quickly and legalise ganja prove once more to be another case of our being too slow on the draw, and losing out on another golden opportunity? Bob Marley would say: "Time alone, only time will tell."