Would Legalizing Marijuana Benefit Caribbean Tourism?

marijuanaWith an eye on the cash cow that marijuana has been for Colorado's tourism, Caribbean stakeholders are now exploring the idea of legalizing the drug with hopes of achieving similar success.

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. 

The notion or reality of marijuana tourism will be discussed at the upcoming State of the Industry Conference (SOTIC) in the U.S. Virgin Islands next week. 

Expert presenters will debate issues related to the subject as part of a broader discussion on medical, health and wellness tourism.

Marijuana is currently illegal on every island in the Caribbean, but some islands like Jamaica are already relaxing bans on marijuana possession. Back in June, Jamaica’s government approved legislation to ease a ban on the possession of small amounts of weed. Hailed as a more “enlightened approach,” the bill will also decriminalize the use of the drug for religious, medical and scientific ends.

So, Travel Agent poses the question, is this a good idea for Caribbean tourism? Do you think your Caribbean clients will welcome the legalization of marijuana?

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