Pubdate: Thu, 05 Dec 2013
Source: Jamaica Gleaner, The (Jamaica)
Copyright: 2013 The Gleaner Company Limited
Author: James McNish

Letter of the Day



Over the last few months, the debate as to whether marijuana should 
be decriminalised for medicinal purposes has gained traction. 
Recently, Dr Fenton Ferguson, minister of health, has asserted 
explicitly that he will endorse the decriminalisation of marijuana 
for medicinal purposes, an encouraging position. The minister should 
be commended for his boldness and, hopefully, he will convince his 
Cabinet colleagues of the economic imperative of the medical 
marijuana industry.

Jamaica needs to act with alacrity in the decriminalisation of 
marijuana for medical purposes so as to exploit both medical and 
business opportunities. Recent findings by a Don Anderson poll 
provide compelling evidence that an overwhelming majority, 55 per 
cent of those interviewed, strongly called for the Government to 
intervene and promote the use of marijuana in medicine and ensure 
that its recreational usage is properly regulated. This survey 
validates the long-held cherished view that marijuana possesses 
medicinal properties.

Across the globe, countries are deviating from the prohibition line. 
In the USA, 20 states have voted in favour of cannabis for 
recreational and medical purposes. In South Australia, possession of 
small quantities of marijuana has been decriminalised. Uruguay is 
introducing a legal marijuana cultivation business while in the Czech 
Republic, a conservative country, medical use of cannabis has been 
legalised since April of this year. Since 1960, Israelis have been at 
the vanguard of research into the medicinal properties of marijuana 
for decades.

A major rethink of promoting entrepreneurship in this potentially 
novel area, including other areas, of the economy, is critical. 
Undoubtedly the traditional model of accomplishing sustained economic 
growth, growing consistently by less than one per cent per annum, has 
become outmoded. Looking proactively for a more sustainable form of 
economic growth, and one not contingent on conventional thinking, 
should be the new paradigm.

Therefore, I am making an earnest appeal to the Government to act 
decisively with appropriate legislations to optimise the economic 
opportunities. How long will it take the Government to decriminalise 
marijuana for medical purposes?

James McNish


University of Technology Jamaica
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