Warning that Jamaica is lagging behind in capitalising on the role cannabis can play in the health and wellness tourism market, Douglas K Gordon, founder of the Caribbean’s leading cannabis expo, CanEx Jamaica, is calling for further regulations to maximise the potential of the local industry.
“The two go hand in glove, in my opinion; a lot of travel is about getting balance in your life, and mental wellness. So, from start to finish, it really plays a very pivotal role in the travel industry. Cannabis has been proven to be extremely beneficial from a health perspective, and not just a therapeutic way but from actual physical impact to your body, and helping to relieve different symptoms and conditions,” he told LetsTravelCaribbean.com.
“What’s important to have happen in Jamaica is for the various bodies to play a role in regulating the industry to recognise its immense benefits to the country and people. It allows Jamaica to offer a service in terms of better health for people from all around the world to come here,” Gordon added.
He argued that Jamaica’s tourism sector has a greater cultural advantage than a lot of countries that are outperforming it in the booming medicinal herb industry.
“Jamaica has very little competition in the world [when it comes to] that sensibility, romantic association and cultural heritage around cannabis. Jamaica has these icons like Bob Marley and Peter Tosh — and not just in the ‘celebrity way’, but in the sense that these people have taken cannabis in Jamaica and put it on the map around the world,” he said.
He added, “They made people have an understanding that it goes beyond just getting high. But if we don’t address some of the shortcomings in terms of how the industry is regulated, and how people out there working to build a better industry can be better facilitated, unfortunately, it’s just going to completely continue to frustrate the industry unnecessarily.”
He wants local policymakers to drill deeper into the industry by capitalizing on Jamaica’s inherent strengths in cannabis and push for the weed to be further utilised in local health and wellness offerings.
“I believe Jamaica can still be a major player in this market. But, I also do recognise the fact that this train is not there waiting for Jamaica to get its stuff together. It really is coming down to this: when is the commercial and economic focus going to be placed on recognising that this is a real industry that has the potential to create a lot of well-paying jobs, and generate a lot of economic benefits to the country?” he asked.
“A healthy, thriving cannabis industry can definitely amplify the performance of the tourism industry. So, it’s very important that, instead of the consistent chitter chatter, people take a very serious and hard look at this industry,” Gordon urged.