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Study Ganja Chain

Published:Thursday | October 30, 2014 | 10:00 AM
WILLIAMS
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PROFESSOR DENSIL Williams, executive director of the Mona School of Business at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, has said a proper study needs to be done in identifying the economic benefits of legalising marijuana.

Williams, who was speaking at a symposium on the legalisation of ganja, held at the Faculty of Law at UWI on Tuesday, said it was important that Jamaica be positioned to benefit from the product.

?I believe we must understand the value chain first, because I am not convinced that we are clear where the value added is along the chain for the marijuana production. If you don?t know the chain, we might be playing in the area that gives the lowest value, when the higher value comes from somewhere else,? he declared.

?We must engage in a serious study to better understand where we go from here. It?s a similar issue with the clothing industry. Why are the Macy?s (department store) of this world getting the highest value and not the persons in the production line?? he asked. Williams added: ?Is it that we are just going to be planting marijuana and then export raw material or are we going to convert marijuana to value-added products, such as the oils. We need to know that and then as a country decide where in the game we are going to play,? the professor told The Gleaner.

Wanda James, member of the Cannabis Global Initiative urged Jamaicans to not be hindered by fear.

?We don?t want people to think that the legalisation process in Colorado was easy. We had the naysayers, we had a lot of people who thought that crime would have skyrocketed, among other negative implications, but today over 10,000 persons are employed and we have created millions in revenue,? she declared.

Colorado made history in January this year by becoming the first state to open stores licensed to sell marijuana legally.

James also noted that Colorado is projected to sell 133 metric tonnes of marijuana in 2014, racking up approximately US$600 million in sales and raking in US$70 million in taxes.

?We (Colorado) are doing what you (Jamaica) are doing, but what we do is that we make it an industry, we educate persons how to make themselves viable and you can do it too. There comes a time when you have to just do it,? she said.

jodi-ann.gilpin@gleanerjm.com