President of the Grenada Hotel and Tourism Association (GHTA), Jerry Rappaport has called on the Keith Mitchell-led government in St. George’s to consider the legalisation of medical Marijuana.
Rappaport made this statement at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the GHTA, held at the Grenadian By Rex Resort last Thursday.
According to Rappaport, he is in no way trying to tell the government what to do but believes that the issue of marijuana for medicinal purposes is a process that “has to be explored.”
“I am not advocating the legalisation of Marijuana. What I am advocating, is look into starting out with the legalisation of medical marijuana use which is going throughout the world. Major amounts of research and we have a situation in Grenada where we have a compromised agricultural sector”, he said.
“…Sir Ronald Saunders, one of the most noted columnist in the Caribbean two years ago, wrote a piece about how they believe that if they were to decriminalise marijuana that it could revitalise the farmers who lost after the banana trade in the Caribbean; it would be an opportunity for those farmers to make a living again,” he added.
The GHTA boss told hoteliers that Grenada is a country with limited resources and as such medical Marijuana could be beneficial.
“There has been more and more research throughout the world about medical marijuana and we are a country that doesn’t have a lot of resources – this is a natural resource, it’s something that should be explored.
“…Down the road, if that is implemented and works well, I think the next step would be to look at decriminalisation because I question whether or not it makes sense to putting young people particularly in prison for something like marijuana. I am not advocating that we be in the head of the pack, this is something that’s going on throughout the world and I think it needs to be looked at.
Rappaport, who runs the small La Sagesse Nature Centre resort in St. David’s advocated the need to start a conversation on the issue.
“I think it’s like anything else, a healthy conversation can only lead to a positive result. I’m not saying that the result is necessarily legalisation or decriminalization. I’m just saying that I think the conversation has to be had and I think the country would benefit from the conversation”, he said.
“…To make the statement is what our role is. It’s the government’s choice, it’s the Prime Minister’s choice and by no means am I trying to tell the Prime Minister what to do. I am just saying we as an organisation having looked at what’s going on in the rest of the world and other Caribbean islands, feel it would be beneficial to Grenada and tourism to take a look at that as a reality,” he added.
Prominent attorney-at-law, Anslem Clouden has been promoting the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes to help bring in foreign exchange in order to boost the island’s economy.
Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell has responded to the pro-marijuana group by warning that it will never happen under his watch.