Is ganja the rea­son Ja­maica in poor shape?

Daily Observer (Jamaica) - - OPINION -

THEY’VE urged us to “move fast”, “get on the ganja train”, but what riches await us? Can we sell ganja to usual part­ners? Amer­ica? Caricom?

What short mem­o­ries! Ja­maica suf­fered for decades by ganja, yet we hang our econ­omy on risqué trade. Ganja hurt us more than fi­nan­cial sec­tor melt­down or hur­ri­cane. Will The Uni­ver­sity of the West Indies please study the eco­nomic, so­cial, med­i­cal, im­pact of ganja since 1970?

Small ganja grow­ers have blood on their hands! Bro­ken lives; ad­dicted, de­pressed, sui­ci­dal kids; mur­ders, cor­rup­tion of po­lice, Cus­toms of­fi­cers; lethargy, so­cial mis­fits, low pro­duc­tiv­ity; Ja­maica to­day is their mag­num opus!

Mr Big, grow­ers who serve you are still out there. You see them at town hall meet­ings? They stole our youth and won for years; now with blood­stained cash they win again? No way! Min­is­ter Aud­ley Shaw, we need clean, small ganja farm­ers.

We failed with a unique crop as or­tanique, so can we win with ganja now grown in 180 na­tions? We have hun­dreds of small farm­ers, yet we could not mine Blue Moun­tain cof­fee; en­ter Star­bucks! Ganja grow­ers con­tam­i­nated con­tain­ers, so the ex­porters lost. They caused mil­lions of US dol­lars to be paid to free Air Ja­maica planes.

I have no prob­lem with ganja, al­co­hol or psy­chotropic sub­stances as sacra­ment, for medicine, or re­cre­ation, but our 92.1 per cent must not be ma­nip­u­lated again. Let in­dus­tri­al­ists act as with heroin from Poppy flower, or co­caine from coca leaf, and we may earn a No­bel prize; ask Dr Lowe. Cof­fee, co­coa, hearts of palm, baux­ite, did not pros­per us — and ganja will not! I grieve for Ja­maica.

Are we fools? We signed a UN Con­ven­tion on Nar­cotic Drugs in 1961; in 1971 on ‘Psy­chotropic Sub­stances’; and 1988 on “il­licit traf­fic” of such. Some 15 mainly white na­tions le­galised cannabis for med­i­cal use, only two for per­sonal use, and no African or Mus­lim coun­try did. Go back to Africa with ganja and you lose

The views ex­pressed on this page are not nec­es­sar­ily those of the Ja­maica Ob­server.

a hand or your head! Should we exit these treaties? Why? To ex­port?

Canada sells cannabis to its own cit­i­zens for their plea­sure; no ex­port! It has no lobby of job­less, “proto ad­dicts” to ap­pease, just pro­duc­tive work­ers who want new leisure op­tions. Name one per­son in the first three rows at a ganja meet­ing who has a job or a busi­ness that pays taxes? The “robed won­ders” have sinecures in academia or small ganja grow­ers who com­mit­ted heinous crimes? So Jam­pro, ex­plain the sup­ply chain; what’s the mar­ket, where’s the ganja? Colorado sells in its bor­ders; no ex­port! Which train did we miss, Min­is­ter Shaw? Se­na­tor Mor­ri­son “wants Ja­maica to step up pace to cash in on ganja”. Ma’am, where is this pot of gold?

Some say small ganja grow­ers saved our econ­omy in the dark days. Maybe so, but we wish they had let us be, as we now reap the whirl­wind. They are crim­i­nals, re­spon­si­ble big time for our bro­ken so­ci­ety; mur­der, rape and zones of spe­cial oper- ations. Cor­rupt politi­cians did not call them out! They cry poverty but did they un­der- mine our econ­omy for free or cash? I de­clare in­ter­est. They put ganja into belly, vagina, all parts and send it on planes and hurt my Ja­maica. They made Drug En­force­ment Ad­min­is­tra­tion bru­talise and ex­tra­dite us. Now even Caricom want to cav­ity search our ladies. We see their farms, man­sions, cars, and they now want ganja front seat after rap­ing us for decades? I grieve for Ja­maica!

I am sorry for Prime Min­is­ter An­drew Hol­ness. Ganja will play havoc for years as evil is now em­bold­ened. Na­tional Se­cu­rity Min­is­ter Ho­race Chang, are ganja breathal­y­sers in the new law? Health Min­is­ter Christo­pher Tufton, pub­lic spliff more than cig­a­rette, so is lung can­cer from ganja smoke nicer? Many rave as “Colorado mar­i­juana sales ex­ceed US$1B” with taxes of US$200 mil­lion (The Gleaner, Oc­to­ber 18, 2018). Sir, Colorado sells to its own peo­ple within its bor­ders, no ex­port! Se­na­tor Mor­ri­son lauds “the awe­some op­por­tu­ni­ties for fi­nan­cial gain”. What is she smok­ing?

So, what’s our fu­ture? High per­form­ers want to chill on hol­i­day here,, so with pre­scrip­tions or as con­verts to Rasta­fari need­ing sacra­ment we will serve them. Yet, some who go home via USA or UK air­ports may fall foul of snif­fer dogs as ganja is le­gal in two na­tions only. Sec­ond, se­ri­ous ganja men must lobby politi­cians to exit the treaties. Voilá, Ja­maica, 1st ganja na­tion!

Third, cannabis de­riv­a­tives with no THC (te­trahy­dro­cannabi­nol) are in de­mand abroad for re­search, so Cabi­net should ap­prove hemp farms; no high, but we cash in big. Fourth, a ganja drink is a soft en­try to mar­kets, but don’t make fake claims. Then, buy shares in listed ganja firms. Mean­while, don’t leave your day job. Stay con­scious!

Franklin John­ston, D Phil (Oxon), is a strate­gist and project man­ager; Fel­low of the Char­tered In­sti­tute of Lo­gis­tics and Trans­port (UK); and lec­tures in lo­gis­tics and sup­ply chain man­age­ment at Mona School of Busi­ness and Man­age­ment, The Uni­ver­sity of the West Indies. Send com­ments to the Ob­server or franklin­john­ston­too@gmail.com.

Ganja is said to hold much prom­ise for eco­nomic gains.

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