'Green Gold': Gov't senator says ganja rich in potential for economy
Government Senator Kerensia Morrison says the cannabis market could be a potential game changer for the Jamaican economy, which has long suffered from anaemic growth.
“We have cannabis that the world craves for its promising implications for medicine; the world needs to see Jamaica as an authority and leader in medical research in cannabis,” Morrison said Friday as she opened the State of the Nation debate in the Senate.
The senator, who suggested that sufficient action isn’t being taken to capitalise on the cannabis market, said that Jamaica has the authority to put the mechanisms in place that will drive the legislation.
She noted that many view ganja in a negative light due to its illicit trade, but she said this can be changed through recognizing the potential impact it can have on Jamaica’s economy.
“We now have the opportunity to change the negative perception of ganja in our own country so that we can get to the point where we respect the fact that we have a powerful herb that could very well be a game changer for our economy.
"This is not ganja a dangerous substance that ‘those bad people use’, this is ganja, the 'Green Gold' that is wealthy in its potential for the cure of serious illnesses,” Morrison said.
The legislator emphasised that even as Jamaica delves deeper into the cannabis market, those who were criminalised for cultivating it in the past should not be left behind.
“The small farmer, the bushman, the Maroons, the Kumina practitioners, the Rastas who have long considered the holy herb as sacrament must not be alienated now that the world has embraced it. They too must be the face of the reward from cannabis.
"We ought to create a niche for them, include them in the discussions, include them in a regulated framework where they can be trained in standards and monitored as per the requirements of the law and licensing authority," Morrison continued. "Include them! it would be a travesty if they were left out and the face of cannabis, the face of ganja for medicinal use is the face of others who did not believe. All must benefit.”
Senator Morrison also pointed out that special attention must be paid to those who are known to abuse the drug.
“One may argue that cannabis was always accessible to a youth who wanted to smoke and this may not see a change in statistics. While this may or may not be true, we should exercise due care even as we look at the big dollars raked in by countries who have gone all the way to legalising for recreational use,” Morrison said.