DEPUTY PRESIDENT of the Senate, Angela Brown Burke, says the country should legalise the use of cannabis for medicinal reasons.
Brown Burke, contributing to a debate on plant genetics in the Senate on Friday, said Cannabis sativa, or marijuana, represents a worthwhile economic opportunity that the country should seek to tap.
Brown Burke expressed the hope that very soon the list of products covered by plant genetic resources for food and agriculture treaty would be expanded by the research and work of Jamaicans and that cannabis could be added.
"These are discussions that we need to have. There are other states and other countries that are way advanced than we are because they have taken that bold step to step forward," Brown Burke said.
She added: "I believe that we need to put it in a framework that allows them to participate legally in the economy and I believe that is an opportunity that we should not miss."
The call for the legalisation of marijuana in Jamaica has got stronger in light of several states in the USA moving to decriminalise its use.
While ganja does not figure on the list of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture treaty, the country has a number of the 64 crops listed in the treaty, which was approved by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation Conference in 2001. These include breadfruit, yam, coconut, Irish potato, sweet potato, cassava, banana and plantain.
The objectives of the treaty are the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of their use.
Under a multilateral system, contracting parties are able to share the 64 plant genetic resources for food and agriculture which are covered by the treaty.
The bill, which has already been passed in the House of Representatives, was approved by the Senate