Columns

Is ganja the reason Jamaica in poor shape?

Franklin
Johnston

Friday, November 09, 2018

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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 blood-stained 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 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 operations. Corrupt politicians did not call them out! They cry poverty but did they undermine 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.

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