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Entrepreneur urges protection of small farmer

KINGSTON, Jamaica — Founder of Island Records and one of the most successful entrepreneurs in music business history, Chris Blackwell, is urging Jamaica to “maximize on the potential for tremendous financial benefits made possible from wide-ranging ganja law reform, including a total transformation of the local economy”.

According to Blackwell, who owns and operates the resort hotel collection Island Outpost that includes GoldenEye in Oracabessa and The Caves in Negril, if the relevant stakeholders move assiduously to amend the laws that enable the development of a viable industry, he cautions them to see to it that, “the framework protects the interests of thousands of small farmers and pins a model that weighs significantly on benefiting micro and small enterprise entrepreneurs. In short, we must not only protect the small farmer but see to it that they can maximize the benefits and elevate themselves.”

Blackwell said that, in addition to unleashing enormous economic potential, “Jamaica can be the first nation in the world to develop a truly unique and legitimate ganja industry that incorporates our cultural norms and as such, positions the people for wealth creation, the government for substantial tax revenue intake, and the island’s social and economic landscape as transformed for the better.”

Chris Blackwell

Chris Blackwell

“The world’s view of ganja use has shifted considerably in recent years, unmasking the veil of misinformation, ignorance and fear that has existed for too long. The scientific, religious, and medical significance of its use is now widely recognized and accepted,” said Blackwell.

“ I think it’s also important to note that the use of ganja in Jamaica is quite similar to the use of alcohol in France. It is socially integrated and consumed in moderation, and people are rarely ever intoxicated by it. Jamaica could follow the tourism model of the French vineyards, whereby people travel into winegrowing areas to visit small farmers, stopping in restaurants, café’s, and other business interests along the way, bringing the tourist dollar directly into the communities and the country at large”.

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