KINGSTON, Jamaica, Thursday April 20, 2017 – Jamaica is not only at risk of losing out on the development of a lucrative marijuana industry but could face worse global embarrassment if it continues to drag its feet on the sector’s development, a leading international proponent on marijuana reform has warned.
Dr Ethan Nadelmann, founder of the United States-based Drug Policy Alliance has cried shame at the slow pace of the development of the sector and he chided Prime Minister Andrew Holness for failing to fast track the process.
“It seems to me it is the obligation of the prime minister to not throw roadblocks…His responsibility is to ensure the effective and expeditious implementation of the law,” Nadelmann told the Jamaica Gleaner.
“To continue to delay is to risk embarrassment in the eyes of other countries that are doing this properly,” he warned.
Nadelmann , a former Harvard and Princeton academic, contends that Jamaica, which is known the world over for top-quality ganja, was at a standstill while other countries including Israel, Australia, Chile and Argentina were fast developing their own medical marijuana industry.
He expressed disappointment that two years after Jamaica amended its Dangerous Drugs Act which led to the decriminalization of the possession of two ounces or less of marijuana and the framework for the development of the local medical marijuana industry, little headway had been made.
He cautioned that too much was at stake for Jamaica and the country should act now to safeguard its interests.
“Jamaica has an opportunity, but it seems like it is beginning to let it go and that is just a shame given Jamaica’s substantial and fairly positive association with this (marijuana),” he said.
“If Jamaica doesn’t move forward quickly you could well find yourself importing medical marijuana from the US and Canada or Israel.”