Marijuana in Jamaica – Puff Peace

Go Lean Commentary

Weed 1Come to Jamaica and feel alright! – Advertising tag line sampling Bob Marley’s song: One Love.

Marijuana decriminalization is not a Jamaican issue… alone. Other countries have already addressed this debate; like Latin America[a] and Europe; legal in The Netherlands & Portugal, and decriminalized in Norway. In the US, Colorado is about to be joined by the State of Washington in allowing recreational use of the cannabis plant.

While medical marijuana originated in Jamaica (1970’s), many jurisdictions now allow marijuana to be legally distributed by medical professionals, with a prescription. Life imitates art, art imitates life. Hollywood has lampooned this practice many times in movies, TV shows and commentary. In the State of California, it is common-place to get a prescription for marijuana for “dubious” ailments like insomnia, appetite abatement, non-clinical depression, even sneezing. Without a doubt in California, the whole process is a farce! (See Comedian Bill Maher’s tongue-in-cheek commentary in Referenced VIDEO below[c]).

The world has changed; the acceptance of marijuana is changing.

The following news article addresses the issue of Marijuana decriminalization, (more so than legalization):

Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago – It would have seemed a lot more revolutionary just two years ago but for Jamaica, it is still a welcome whiff of sense. The island’s energy minister, Philip Paulwell, who also leads government business in parliament, has said he will find time this year to decriminalise possession of small amounts of marijuana. At a stroke, the move will cut the number of illicit smokes by as many as a million a week. It will also make a Jamaican break somewhat less nervy for ganja-puffing tourists.

Reform proposals have been knocking around for some time: a National Commission on Ganja recommended decriminalisation in 2001. But helped by moves towards legalisation in Uruguay and decriminalisation in the United States, momentum has been growing. A Cannabis Future Growers and Producers Association was launched last month, and a commercial company to support medical marijuana in December.

Selling for less than five dollars an ounce, ganja has a long history in Jamaica, going all the way back to 19th-century Indian immigrants. Cultivation and import have been illegal since 1913, but everyone’s granny remembers when the herb was quite openly on sale as a cure-all. Some of the early work on medicinal uses for marijuana was done in Jamaica in the 1970s and 1980s.

In practice, most small-time ganja users are not arrested or prosecuted. But for those who are, the consequences can be dire. A criminal record makes it hard to get a coveted American visa or to land jobs in Jamaica itself. For that reason alone, reform looks like a surefire vote-winner.

Decriminalisation will also unclog the courts and free up police time. But it won’t change the big picture. It will remain illegal to grow and trade marijuana in large quantities, something that suits the big players just fine. Full legalisation would knock the bottom out of the market, hurting the island’s powerful criminal gangs. It would also curtail the potential for extortion; seven police officers appeared in court this month to face allegations that they took a $2,750 bribe from a businessman in return for overlooking a ganja find on his premises.

Jamaicans are prone to waves of moral panic, but the proposal to decriminalise ganja has caused barely any waves. The foreign minister AJ Nicholson and the opposition leader, Andrew Holness, have expressed mild reservations; the vocal church lobby has been silent. Says a well-educated and dreadlocked Jamaican: “Most of them accept that there are people who do this, just like there are people who drink.” Such tolerant sentiments only go so far, however. The “abominable crime of buggery” carries a prison sentence of up to ten years, and the government has no plans to right that injustice.
The Economist Magazine; posted 06/13/2014; retrieved 06/18/2014 from:

Marijuana tourism or “ganja-puffing tourists” …
…these words jump off the page of this foregoing news article.

The book Go Lean…Caribbean anticipates the compelling issues associated with economic engines. The book serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). This effort calls for the focus of the following 3 prime directives related to Trade:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion and create 2.2 million jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus (including law enforcement enhancements) to protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines.

Weed 2But the subject of marijuana is bigger than Trade. There are moral, religious, legal and psychological (treatment) issues associated with this topic; and there is history – good and bad. Any jurisdiction decriminalizing the use of marijuana has to contend with the previous messaging to the community of: “Just say no to drugs”.

The book asserts that before the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies of a roadmap to elevate a society can be deployed, the affected society must first embrace a progressive community ethos. The book defines this “community ethos” as the fundamental character or spirit of a culture; the underlying sentiment that informs the beliefs, customs, or practices of society; dominant assumptions of a people or period. Think of the derivative term: “work ethic”.

Marijuana is a mood-altering drug; it has negative effects, one being preponderance for apathy, to tune out of any active engagement. In the US, even in the states where marijuana is legal, most firms/governments still screen staffers (new hires and veterans) and ban consumption of the drug. The reason is simple: Apathy does not make for industriousness. So this issue/drug presents a conundrum for the CU. The mission to grow the economy, promote industriousness, foster new jobs and new industries is pronounced early in the roadmap, detailed in the Declaration of Interdependence (Page 14) with this statement:

 xxvi.   Whereas the Caribbean region must have new jobs to empower the engines of the economy and create the income sources for prosperity, and encourage the next generation to forge their dreams right at home, the Federation must therefore foster the development of new industries … In addition, the Federation must invigorate the enterprises related to existing industries … impacting the region with more jobs.

According to the foregoing article, reconciling the history of marijuana/ganja will be a “tall order”:

ganja has a long history in Jamaica, going all the way back to 19th-century Indian immigrants.

The history of marijuana/ganja in the Caribbean in general and Jamaica in particular has generated a lot of proponents and opponents. Despite outlawing “the weed” for over 100 years, there is a vibrant black market economy associated with the drug. This reality challenges the security apparatus of the Caribbean’s legitimate governing entities. The Go Lean roadmap therefore features the necessary homeland security/law enforcement mitigations. This need was pronounced at the outset of the book (Page 12), recognizing that the problem of drug enforcement/interdiction may be too big for any one member-state alone:

xvi.   Whereas security of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance. Since economic crimes … can imperil the functioning of the wheels of commerce for all the citizenry, the accedence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.

This issue of decriminalizing marijuana must now reconcile with the long history of criminal prosecutions, prison terms and probation/parole eco-system. Management of these attendant functions of criminology has been a consistent theme of the Go Lean roadmap, commencing with this statement in the same Declaration of Interdependence (Page 12):

x.   Whereas we are surrounded and allied to nations of larger proportions in land mass, populations, and treasuries, elements in their societies may have ill-intent in their pursuits, at the expense of the safety and security of our citizens. We must therefore appoint “new guards” to ensure our public safety and threats against our society, both domestic and foreign. The Federation must employ the latest advances and best practices of criminology and penology to assuage continuous threats against public safety. The Federation must allow for facilitations of detention for convicted felons of federal crimes, and should over-build prisons to house trustees from other jurisdictions.

The Go Lean book envisions the CU as a confederation of the 30 member-states of the Caribbean to do the heavy-lifting of empowering and elevating the Caribbean society by creating a “single market” for the region. Among the many benefits of this roadmap is the economies-of-scale for leveraging regional security solutions, like the upheavals of marijuana decriminalization.

Despite the many economic benefits researched for decriminalizing drugs, as measured in the mature market of the US [b], this roadmap and supporting blogs are NOT proposing this measure for the Caribbean … per se. This is presented here as a political issue; the CU strives to maintain an apolitical stance.

There is security risk on both sides of this issue. The book details the community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to monitor, manage and mitigate the security risks to Caribbean society. The following is a sample list:

Community Ethos – Deferred Gratification Page 21
Community Ethos – Job Multiplier Page 22
Community Ethos – Privacy versus Public Protection Page 23
Community Ethos – Light Up the Dark Places Page 23
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact Research & Development Page 30
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Greater Good Page 37
Strategy – Vision – Integration of Single Market Economy Page 45
Strategy – Agents of Change – Globalization Page 57
Tactical – Fostering a Technocracy Page 64
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Homeland Security Page 75
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Justice Department Page 77
Implementation – Security Initiatives at Start-up Page 103
Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Ways to Mitigate Black Markets Page 165
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Governance Page 168
Advocacy – Ways to Better Manage the Social Contract Page 170
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Justice Page 177
Advocacy – Ways to Remediate and Mitigate Crime Page 178
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Homeland Security Page 180
Advocacy – Ways to Impact the Prison Industrial Complex Page 211

Now is the time for all of the Caribbean, the people and governing institutions, to lean-in for the empowerments described in the book Go Lean … Caribbean. For us to send the invitation to the wide-world to ”come to Caribbean and feel alright”, but we must first put “our house” in order.

The world’s acceptance of marijuana has changed. While this is true, this change has created opportunities and also challenges. There is plenty of work yet to be done; heavy-lifting.

Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!


Referenced Citations:

a.  Marijuana is legal to some degree in 8 Latin America countries (Argentina, Brazil, Columbia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico and Uruguay).

b.  A Harvard economist, Jeffery Miron, estimated that ending the war on drugs would inject 76.8 billion dollars into the US economy in 2010 alone.[1] He estimates that the government would save $41.3 billion for law enforcement and the government would gain up to $46.7 billion in tax revenue.[2] Since President Nixon began the war on drugs, the federal drug-fighting budget has increased from $100 million in 1970 to $15.1 billion in 2010, with a total cost estimated near 1 trillion dollars over 40 years.[3] In the same time period an estimated 37 million nonviolent drug offenders have been incarcerated. $121 billion was spent to arrest these offenders and $450 billion to incarcerate them.[3]

1.       Debusmann, Bernd (12/03/2008). “Einstein, Insanity and the War on Drugs”. Reuter. Retrieved 04/01/2012 from:

2.       Miron, Jeffrey A.; Katherine Waldock. “The Budgetary Impact of Ending Drug Prohibition”. The Cato Institute.  Retrieved 05/03/2010 from:

3.       The Associated Press (05/13/2010). “After 40 years, $1 trillion, US War on Drugs Has Failed to Meet Any of its Goals”. The Associated Press. Retrieved 04/01/2012 from:

c.  Referenced VIDEO:


On Friday night’s episode of “Real Time,” Bill Maher offered some advice to viewers and to the state of Colorado about how to use marijuana safely and effectively, which we need to do, he said, because “after all, we’re pretending it’s medicine…


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