The development of a marijuana tourism industry in the Jamaican society is by far the most predictable and overdue undertaking in the history of our nation. Jamaica’s notoriety with the plant is world renowned and is even predominantly evident in American popular culture. This country’s patriotic embrace of marijuana use is an unexploited economic “gold mine” and a tool of liberation from debt servitude.
In establishing a local marijuana tourism industry one would first have to establish an adequate marijuana industry or the needed production and packaging of the marijuana plant to facilitate tourism demand. This facilitation process may be categorized under three (3) consecutive stages.
RESEARCH AND REGULATIONS
Although marijuana is not as dangerous as claimed by the “Reefer Madness” era it is still a powerful plant with psychologically reactive chemicals. Thus there is the need for regulation which cannot be enacted without proper research into the effects of marijuana. Rigorous scientific inquiry should be commissioned to determine the effects of marijuana when smoked, when cooked, when baked, when brewed, when consumed raw or in large amounts and whether certain chemicals in marijuana become harmful when mixed with other chemicals or when exposed to certain conditions. Also, the medicinal aspect of marijuana may be researched and the possibility of establishing a world class medical marijuana industry may be considered at this stage. Trusted overseas research may be referenced to an extent but to guarantee unbiased findings the nation state of Jamaica must conduct its own independent research on marijuana.
Since the industry is anticipated to be very profitable and very expandable, it is advised that a regulatory body focused purely on the cause of the industry be formed under the name, The Cannabis Bureau of Standards (The “Cannabureau” for short). The CannaBureau should be legislatively authorized to regulate the farming, packaging and export of marijuana and also the products made from marijuana. The scope of the CannaBureau should entail farm related dimensions, acceptable and unacceptable chemicals and practices and the level of professionalism required to operate a registered marijuana farm. Also, the standard of packaging and the standard concerned with exporting marijuana especially for medical use, should also be under the jurisdiction of the CannaBureau. The marijuana tourism legislation should establish marijuana “free zones” in Negril, Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and Kingston which are designated locations where recreational marijuana use may be allowed with immediate effect until full legalization is attainable. This method allows for the immediate exploitation of the concept without outright dishonouring international treaties similar to how the US exploits legalization in certain territories rather than on a national level.
CULTIVATION AND PACKAGING
The cultivation of the marijuana that will sustain the industry needs to be done by the farmers of the notorious marijuana growing communities, especially in Westmoreland. These people who have experienced systematic oppression for their loyalty to the marijuana plant should be allowed to profit from it and should be allowed at least a 5 year monopoly on growing the marijuana that will supply the tourism industry. The Westmoreland farmers may form a union to protect their legitimate farming interest and to collectively assist farmers in establishing their farms to the required standard.
Medical Marijuana may require certain care and expertise and thus medical marijuana may be farmed separately under ideal conditions to not compromise its medicinal purpose. The packaging of the product will ensure that the product is refined and any unnecessary part is removed while providing more jobs for the unemployed. The marijuana should be packaged in bulk and shipped to newly established marijuana cigarette companies and to other establishments which take part in producing marijuana tourism commodities. These enterprises should be supplied by the designated rural marijuana farmers who is the primary source of the marijuana being consumed by the tourism industry.
MARKETING AND PROFITEERING
This is the most important aspect in establishing a marijuana tourism industry. In order to generate maximum profits, our marijuana industry must be marketed world wide in a captivating but positive light. Our global advertisement campaign will exploit the tradition cultivated by Bob Marley and others to portray Jamaican marijuana as a luxury item, similar to the luxurious status afforded by Cuban cigars. Marijuana cigarette companies and other marijuana related corporations may be established to offer a wide range of marijuana related products to tourists seeking adventurous reasons to spend their money. It is highly dependent upon the private sector to develop and offer a diverse range of marijuana products and services to satisfy the anticipated corporate needs of the demanding 1st world tourists. Thus marijuana based resorts and marijuana delivery services should be established to assure that the unique tourism services are conveniently offered to the eager visitors in a hedonistic and memorable fashion to assure a global tourism reputation.
Also the Rastafarian community is advised to play a significant role in establishing and maintaining the industry by lending their expertise in farming and their image and involvement in marketing. Resorts and tourist destinations may be established under the control of the Rastafarian community to offer their unique and globally renowned lifestyle and marijuana use to tourists seeking an authentic marijuana experience. These ventures should directly enrich the Rastafarian community which have previously been persecuted for its marijuana use.
Medicaincrease l Marijuana Industry is also a tool of marketing Jamaica’s marijuana tourism in a good light to the politically incorrect people who still see marijuana through the old prohibition perspective. Also marijuana tourism may attract medically concerned visitors for medical tourism and thus an entire industry is to be established strictly for the medical applications of marijuana. Taxation and other proceeds from medical marijuana should be used to fund our struggling health care sector.
Marijuana tourism will significantly increase Jamaica’s tourism numbers which means more profit for other sections of the tourist industry which is not involved in marijuana. Also more taxation for government revenue and more money flowing into the poorest and most neglected areas of our society is expected to be an outcome. It is also expected that with the development of marijuana tourism comes an increase in the freedom and livelihood of Jamaicans in general and the loss of marijuana revenue from organized crime, which is expected to suffer from this. Also Jamaica’s global fame and the geopolitical influence that develops alongside it will increase rapidly and make Jamaica a more influential nation with stronger diplomacy.
The Rastafarians will also get their historic vindication for their long held stance towards the medicinal and recreational potential of marijuana and be allowed to play a role in the new economic venture. However, there are a few factors that may shadow the idea of a marijuana tourism industry, mostly the risk of distancing potential tourists who are family oriented or are skeptical towards marijuana. However, this disadvantage may be diminished by structuring our global public relations campaign to portray our marijuana tourism as being responsible, confined and age restricted. Other factors such as potential lawsuit may attract to this young and not so fully understood industry emerging from a long history of negative propaganda. Thus to address this shortcoming Jamaican attorneys need to develop a legal context for marijuana with assistance of local researchers and the courts should objectivity guide its precedents towards facilitating the commercial use of the plant. Jamaica has long been associated with marijuana ever since the rise of Rastafarianism and Bob Marley and thus marijuana tourism will do little to increase that association to any negative proportion.
However, to assure that a fair image of Jamaica and its marijuana enterprise is maintained, medical marijuana and its positive potential may be heavily associated in our public relations campaign. The tradition of this development will be that Jamaica has matured to finally recognize its potential as a marijuana tourism heaven and finally benefiting from the traditions of Bob Marley, Leonard Howell, Peter Tosh etc. who have cultivated the foundation of Jamaica’s public relations image. Many around the world had previously believed that Jamaica was a marijuana tolerant society but was disappointed at the criminal status (presently decriminalized) of marijuana upon their visit. Now we can be an objective society, free of hypocrisy and confident in our embrace of our cannabis tradition. Also Jamaica along with other nations are pioneers in the “destigmatization” of marijuana, which is an import and sincere global contribution. This move by Jamaica will assist other misinformed nations of the true nature of marijuana and allow them to approach the issue free of preconceived notions. Also, the Jamaican society under freer marijuana use may be observed and studied by professionals to determine if any, the negative effects cannabis may have on a society as a factual point of reference for the most anti-marijuana nations.
A local marijuana tourism industry doesn’t have to be a far away dream. In fact, this industry may be established in a year or less if enough resource, labour and expertise is directed towards the project. From this the government should be able to generate billions in taxation, foreign investment and foreign exchange which SHOULD be reflected in the standard of living of Jamaicans. Also, the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ), should prepare itself to benefit from the industry while effectively anticipating and satisfying the needs of the globally diverse consumers of the tourism industry.
Fast food joints, night clubs, taxi companies, security companies and nature resorts will be demanded and thus “Outameni Experience” may be used in this marijuana/ roots tourism. Also a diverse range of marijuana products will be demanded such as beer, pastry soap, marijuana cigarettes etc. Thus the private sector will have to creatively prepare to fully exploit this venture while assuring that its demands stay in local hands. Marijuana tourism destinations such as Amsterdam, Uruguay, Colorado and Washington does not possess the soul and the privilege to marijuana that Jamaica enjoys. Thus by securing non-predatory forms of investment and inputting our creativity, culture, organization and hospitality we will be able to effortlessly emerge as the world’s foremost marijuana tourism destination.
As tourism numbers increase so should the JCF’s ( Jamaica Constabulary Force) capacity to protect the lives of citizens from around the world and preventing any form of international crisis and embarrassment due to deaths caused by inadequate law enforcement. Thus the JCF and the JDF (Jamaica Defense Force) should expand its operations, strengthen its techniques and modernize its approach to facilitate the new economic venture. The healthcare sector is another area of concern which must reflect its increased demand for modern healthcare and must develop its operations and capacity to be able to serve the needs of both locals and tourists without bias to the life and wellbeing of neither local nor tourist.