Quit the huff and puff on medical marijuana

Published: Saturday | February 22, 2014 Comments 0

THE EDITOR, Sir:Why the tiptoeing on the medical marijuana industry?

Recently, Senator A.J. Nicholson, QC, minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade, asserted that legalisation of marijuana was not on the Government's agenda. Are we to understand that the decriminalisation of marijuana for medical purposes is also not on the agenda?

Since 2001, there has been much discourse on the legalisation of marijuana, and, recently, the decriminalisation of marijuana for medical purposes has occurred. Apparently, the ubiquitous discussions on the medical- marijuana industry remain piffling. Implicitly, the minister's assertion serves to obfuscate the issue and scuttle the progress made so far, rather than to fast-track appropriate legislation to support the potential industry.

Global trends indicate many countries are deviating from the prohibition of marijuana through scientifically based drug-policy reform. We still remain outside the starting block. Interestingly, the Obama administration, on February 14, 2014, permitted the banking industry to finance and do business with legal marijuana sellers, a move that could further legitimise the burgeoning industry.

no logic

In Jamaica, anachronism prevails over logic regarding the economic and medicinal benefits of marijuana. Why are we tiptoeing around the legalisation of the medical-marijuana industry?

Our emphasis should be on establishing an amalgam of academia, private sector and government research investment to evaluate how we can maximise the economic and scientific opportunities of medical marijuana.

Over time, Jamaica could be transformed into an entrepreneurial hot spot, through new scientific breakthroughs, creating new companies and huge wealth. Through this new wave of investment, Jamaica could become the oasis of the Caribbean. Undoubtedly, the GDP, balance of payment, job creation and medical science will benefit significantly.

JAMES MCNISH

UTech lecturer

jamcnish@utech.edu.jm

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