This may come as somewhat of a shock, but Jamaica makes it official and planted its first legal marijuana plant on the campus of the University of West Indies – Mona on the western edge of the city of Kingston, yesterday.
That’s right. The country most notably known for one love, Bob Marley, and – of course – smoking a lot of weed, finally made marijuana flower legal for medical purposes in 2015. The first legal plant is only the beginning, and a long way off from any medicinal use in Jamaica. Still, it’s certainly one small step for weed, one giant leap for complete cannabis legality.
Much like the medicinal marijuana landscape in Colorado in the early 2000’s, Jamaica’s medical marijuana industry will initially start slow. The initial pot plant (shown above) will accompany others to be harvested by university researchers and begin medical marijuana research studies in Jamaica for the very first time. It will only be after these initial findings that medical marijuana could become available to Jamaican patients deemed fit.
Despite the infamous amount of marijuana consumed in Jamaica, everyday, Science Minister Philip Paulwell notes first things must come first.
“We have to start this way, so that we can set the stage for commercialization,” Paulwell said.
The Indica (and Sativa) Industry
Jamaica also hopes to follow in the footsteps of medicinal and recreational marijuana front-runner Colorado by eventually creating a booming legal cannabis industry for the island nation. Colorado collected a record tax revenue of $39.2M from marijuana sales in February 2015, alone.
There are many steps to take between complete marijuana legalization in Jamaica and today, and there’s no guarantee those eventual legal parameters put in place will even work to stave off already rampant illegal marijuana use in the country.
That being said, the record sums of revenue Colorado posts each and every month since full recreational legalization in January, 2014 has Jamaican lawmakers and justices seeing green…backs, that is.
“Now that [Jamaica] can actually cultivate for research purposes, we can expect that the outcomes of the endeavors will be more profound, and with the economic opportunities that this will bring, we see this as part of what, I hope, will be a transformational industry for Jamaica,” said Justice Minister Mark Golding.