A report from RJR's Janella Precius, who is at the CARICOM Heads of Government meeting in Montego Bay, St. James
CARICOM leaders are concerned that the region is lagging behind in cashing in on the economic benefits of the cannabis industry.
The concerns were raised in relation to the CARICOM Marijuana Commission report during discussions at the CARICOM Heads of Government meeting in Montego Bay, St. James.
The CARICOM Marijuana Commission was established four years ago to look into the social, economic, health and legal issues surrounding marijuana use in the Caribbean, among other things.
But while its commissioners have been doing that, developed countries, like Canada and the United States have taken bold steps in creating flourishing medical ganja industries.
When RJR News questioned Ras Franki-Tafari, an Antiguan who sits on the ten-member CARICOM Marijuana Commission, about the length of time the region was taking to develop its cannabis industry, he said each country has its own dynamic which will dictate the pace at which operates.
He also alluded to the fact that opening up the ganja industry might not stop the illicit trade of the drug, which is a major concern for Caribbean countries.
"I'm under no illusions that when you legalise for medicinal purposes, you legalise for religious purposes inside of the tabernacles, that you're not going to have 'illegal' ganja still because people are going to want to sell it to some countries in the region which... have not yet moved towards any form of decriminalisation or legalisation," he asserted.
The Heads of Government will meet Friday to consider the report.
Ras Franki-tafari, a member of the CARICOM Marijuana Commission.
The Commission is headed by Professor Rose Marie Belle Antoine.
So far only Jamaica, Belize as well as Antigua and Barbuda have passed legislation to decriminalise the possession and use of small quantities of ganja.