Fri | Jan 19, 2018

Holness charged to lead Jamaica to global ganja prosperity

Published:Monday | April 24, 2017 | 12:00 AMJason Cross
Phillip Paulwel

Prime Minister Andrew Holness is being challenged to lead Jamaica forward to global prosperity, by way of a well-pronounced ganja industry, and to prevent the nation from soon having to import the herb.

Basil Hylton, president of the Kingston and St Andrew Ganja Growers and Producers Association, made his appeal to the prime minister during last week's relaunch and rebranding of the Future Ganja Growers and Producers Association into the Ganja Growers and Producers Association at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston.

"I am calling on the PM, who wants to be known as the greatest implementer. Sir, this is the industry you need to lead. We know what happened to nutmeg, sugar, pimento, coffee and bauxite. Mr PM, get up, stand up for our rights. It is in your hand now," Hylton stressed.

He expressed concern that smaller jurisdictions, like the Cayman Islands, may soon start supplying Jamaica with ganja if the Holness administration doesn't get its act together.

"The decriminalisation of the herb was a good start. After that came the greatest dilly dally I have seen in Jamaica since Independence. Past and present governments seem not to be able to get their act together while, around us, some islands that never used to think about ganja, have started to think about it now and it seems they are way ahead of us."

"There is very substantial opportunity for Jamaica to regularise this industry. No country on Earth, I would say, has a greater association with ganja than does Jamaica. If Jamaica does not move forward quickly, you could well find yourself importing ganja from the USA, Canada and, maybe, Cayman," highlighted Hylton.

Hylton further stressed that "big businesses in Jamaica made big money from ganja in the '70's, '80's and up to the '90's".

 

... Confidence deficit, fear of US impacting movement on weed, says Paulwell

Opposition Spokesman on Energy and Mining Phillip Paulwell has declared that he has been an advocate for the full legalisation of ganja for more than 25 years.

According to Paulwell, who was present for the re-launch and rebranding of the Future Ganja Growers and Producers Association into the Ganja Growers and Producers Association at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston last week, a lack of confidence and concern about the reaction of the United States are two of the main reasons for the nation's failure to progress.

"It is a lack of confidence, wanting to be perfect rather than just going and taking chances and taking risks. Also, it is (because of) our people not wanting to upset the US. In fact, the US is making tremendous headways over and above us in this area of ganja research and development. We have to be a lot more confident, we have to be a lot more assertive."

He added: "We have recognised that here is an opportunity for Jamaica to use a plant that we have tremendous competitive advantage in and maximise on the benefits for our people rather than focusing on prevention. You need to use the resources to educate people on the dangers of misuse, rather than banning it from use totally," Paulwell said.