Jamaica's Minister of Tourism Addresses Marijuana Tourism Debate at JAPEX (VIDEO)


MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica - As part of our coverage of JAPEX (Jamaica Product Exchange), Travel Agent sat in on a press conference Monday in which Dr. Kenneth Wykeham McNeill, Jamaica's minister of tourism and entertainment, addressed the topic of marijuana tourism. 

"What we want to do is decriminalize marijuana so that persons that are smoking at best will get a fine and it's treated in that matter," says McNeill, pointing to the fact that so many Jamaicans' lives are ruined because they get a criminal record at a very young age for smoking marijuana, "and that legislature, that process is on its way, but legalizing it is another story."

The notion or reality of marijuana tourism was first discussed earlier this month at the State of the Industry Conference (SOTIC), which took place in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Expert presenters debated issues related to the subject as part of a broader discussion on medical, health and wellness tourism.

The debate surrounding marijuana tourism has taken a sharper focus in recent months following its legalization for recreational use by two U.S. states, including Colorado. Uruguay has also become the first country in the world to make it legal to grow, sell and consume cannabis.

Since it became legal to smoke marijuana in Colorado at the start of the year, there have been several reports of a boom in arrivals from both within and outside the U.S. The Colorado office of state planning and budgeting reported $19 million in tax revenue from recreational marijuana during the first half of the year, although it didn’t say how much of that was from tourism versus local buyers.

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