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Jamaica Seeks To Leverage Cannabis Tourism

By New Frontier Analysts Officers of Jamaica’s Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) have begun to devise ways to capitalize on the nation’s long standing reputation as a cannabis hot spot. The CLA plans to allow for cannabis kiosks to be placed in the country’s airports. These kiosks will serve as one stop shops that can approve tourists for temporary medical licenses as well as sell them a few ounces of cannabis before these tourists head off to their ultimate destinations. While these licenses are primarily intended for travelers with prescriptions in their home country, those who lack medical cards and prescriptions can “self-declare” their need for cannabis and be allowed to purchase up to two ounces for their time on the island. Historically, despite the long standing cultural significance of cannabis, the Jamaican government fairly hard on the cannabis community on the island. This plan to organize and regulate the natural cannabis tourism occurring is an expansion of other policies recently adopted in Jamaica. In early 2015, the Jamaican government made the decision to decriminalize possession of cannabis up to 2 ounces with the penalty now amounting to a $5 fine. This heralds the emergence of a cannabis market not far from U.S. soil. Developments in this market will be significant to U.S. consumers and industry professionals. It also shows that governments worldwide have begun to feel that the reward of additional revenue from taxing cannabis outweighs any potential health or societal risks. One major impact of Jamaica’s new stance towards cannabis consumption by tourists is that travelers looking to consume may prefer Jamaica’s beaches over the American alternatives in Oregon, Washington and Colorado. Each state will now not only be contending for tourist dollars with other U.S. states that permit recreational consumption, but now Jamaica will be a competitor as well. As Jamaica and the United States both trend towards wide spread legalization, the future potential for import and exports competition will emerge. While this may seem like a distant future possibility, the speed at which the cannabis industry moves and changes makes contingency planning for even the most unlikely events. The changes in Jamaica’s cannabis laws will have immediate impacts on the cannabis tourism sector, and long term potential impacts on the industry as a whole, as Jamaica could be a formidable regional source of both supply and demand for cannabis products.  

New Frontier Analysts

Our data scientists drill deep with rigorous analytics to provide insight into key trends and market opportunities. We track the state of cannabis and its regulation in all major legal markets.

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