By PETER RICHARDS
KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Jamaica government is to hold talks with major stakeholders in the Canadian marijuana industry later this week as it seeks to consolidate its position within the “fastest growing industry globally right now”.
Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Audley Shaw, said he will be travelling to the North American country for talks with industry officials.
“Every time we talk about cannabis and hemp in Jamaica, is a big joke! But it is the fastest-growing industry globally right now. Canada, multiple billions of dollars. And I am going there next week to talk to the cannabis industry in Canada,” Shaw said as he addressed the Credit Union League’s 77th Annual General Meeting and Convention over the last weekend.
“Because, how can it be that we — just like we have the best coffee, the best cocoa, the best this, the best that — we also have the best marijuana! And we must just sit around and be a sample nation and talk about two ounce of the thing in we hand middle? And look at what’s happening to cannabis globally!”
He told the convention that he had already held discussions with the governor of the Bank of Jamaica in regards to financing of the industry and that during his trip to Canada he would be seeking to address is “what mechanism they are using to get around that issue right now.
“But other countries are doing it: Canada is doing it, Israel is doing it, European countries are doing it. States of the United States are finding ways around these problems related to banking,” Shaw said.
He told the convention a “couple decades ago or more when (US) President (Ronald) Reagan said marijuana is the worst thing ever” no one could have foreseen that “now for the past 10 years they have been studying cannabis in the United States because the phenomenon of opioids is destroying America”.
“Synthetic drugs are destroying America. And they are now finding that cannabis is an able replacement for opiods in the United States. Even President Trump has now said, ‘hold on, we have to take another look at medical cannabis’. “
He said Jamaica should address the situation of medicinal marijuana seriously.
“Well, if America itself is coming around to the view that medical marijuana is an issue that must be focused on, then it’s only a matter of time before the banking has to fall in place to support that,” he added. – CMC