Caribbean Countries Hope to Replicate Colorado’s Success in Pot Tourism

Processing marijuana is illegal in most Caribbean countries, but there are hardly any reports of people being punished harshly for carrying a small amount of the drug.

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As pot tourism turns out to be a new source of revenue for the US state of Colorado, Caribbean countries are watching closely with the hope of replicating it in their territories.

In November last year, the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) hosted a meeting on Facebook to discuss the pros and cons of introducing pot tourism. The meeting, where industry leaders from various countries took part, ended with a decision to keep a watch on the countries that have legalized cannabis.

Processing marijuana is illegal in most of Caribbean countries, but there are hardly any reports of people being punished harshly for carrying a small amount of the drug.

Analysts say legalization can turn the illicit trade into a revenue-breeding industry, because in Saint Vincent and The Grenadines, cannabis worth more than US$40 million is produced illegally every year, larger than the money earned through banana export.

Some analysts, however, suggest that marijuana recreation centers should act like vineyards or craft beer breweries in Europe, instead of simply allowing visitors to indulge.

Jamaica, the only Caribbean country to legalize marijuana, says pot can boost its wellness tourism.  The island is home to Medicanja, the first registered medical marijuana company in the Caribbean. It has received grants from various organizations to research on cannabis-based drugs.

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Tourism experts in the region are currently watching Colorado closely. In 2016, more than 13 million visitors took up pot tourism in Colorado. Reports say that the state has mopped up $927 million in marijuana taxes since it allowed recreational sales.

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