KINGSTON – A special task force to inform the Tourism Ministry on using cannabis-enthused tourism for the promotion of the sector, is to be established. Edmund Bartlett, the tourism minister, said that although cannabis is still subject to Schedule I of the United States Controlled Substances Act, the most tightly restricted category reserved for drugs not currently accepted for medical use, the Government is satisfied that the industry can benefit from the nutraceutical value of the drug.
“So, we are going to designate an area and, while I am not creating the policy, I am indicating that within that framework there is going to be discussions,” he told the opening segment of last Friday’s ‘Cannabis + Jamaica: The Time is Now’ seminar series involving international, local and regional experts and stakeholders, staged by CanEx Jamaica.
CanEx Jamaica is an event platform started in 2016 to promote networking, collaboration, education, and expansion of the legal cannabis market in Jamaica. CanEx is focused on driving high-value discussions and connections including the development of cannabis-enthused or marijuana tourism, which involves the use of the drug for recreation or wellness by tourists.
Bartlett who, along with St Vincent and the Grenadines Minister of Health, Wellness and the Environment Robert Luke Browne, was one of the main government sector speakers at the morning session of the all-day event, said that Jamaica’s tourism industry could benefit greatly from the utilisation of the oil and wraps produced from the plant, as well as its direct medical application.
He said that an area of the south-western coast of Jamaica, running from West End in Negril, Westmoreland, to Treasure Beach in St Elizabeth, would represent a critical area for the development of nutraceuticals as part of the cannabis-enthused experience in tourism.
“This is not to say that there are not possibilities elsewhere, but I make the point that if it isn’t planned, if it isn’t structured, and if it isn’t orderly and managed, and if we are going to create wealth from its expansion and development, what will become of these industries?” Bartlett asked.
He said that investing in health and wellness is a requirement and among the five networks his ministry has created for the increased development of tourism in Jamaica, and would help with two key issues: identifying and positioning the indigenous offerings of the communities, and the absorption of the demands from tourism in the local communities.