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Legal ganja could benefit tourism — McNeill

BY KARYL WALKER Editor — Crime/court desk walkerk@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, February 27, 2014    

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WITH a groundswell building up for the Government to decriminalise ganja, Tourism and Entertainment Minister Wykeham McNeill says the move would be good for tourism.

McNeill, who was responding to a question posed by the Jamaica Observer at the post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House in Kingston yesterday, said if the law were structured properly the country could benefit.

"I think from a tourism perspective, it would be good. The issue that we have is that we have to be careful how we do it," he said.

Earlier this week, McNeill's Cabinet colleague Phillip Paulwell announced that legislation to allow for the decriminalisation of ganja should be passed through the House of Representatives and become law by year end.

The world view on marijuana as a gateway drug has shifted radically in the past decade and several US states, European countries, and Uruguay, have legalised the use of the plant for medical purposes.

Jamaica, said to grow one of the more potent varieties of the weed, also has its eyes on the medical marijuana industry, which is worth billions.

The female plant is used for smoking and has a high level of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which creates euphoria and heightened senses in the smoker. THC can also induce hallucinations, cause delusions and is linked to certain mental health problems.

On the other hand, marijuana smoking is known to ease discomfort in cancer and AIDS victims.

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