The Jamaican government has plans to install medical marijuana license kiosks at air and seaports in the immediate future, making acquiring legal weed as easy as possible for visiting tourists. These kiosks will not, as many news outlets are inexplicably reporting, issue cannabis products to tourists via vending machines.
The country’s Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) told The Jamaica Gleaner recently that the plan is well underway, with an official proposal only weeks away. The kiosks would likely be staffed by a medical professional, and would function not unlike a 420 Doc-type licensing facility in California.
No question: that is super cool and convenient for visiting tourists who want to smoke good legal weed while they are the guests of Jamaica. Only we at Dabs Mag would rather be smoking whatever stuff has been passed around to certain members of the press who have gotten this story and magically presto-chango turned it into a completely different one.
“Jamaica is planning to install marijuana-dispensing kiosks for tourists,” reads a story from the UK rag The Independent. And Green Rush Daily has gone even further with their story headlined “Jamaica to Install Weed Vending Machines at Airports.” These stories have the exact same sources as ours, and though those stories touch on the kiosks that a branch of the Jamaican government is considering, they both independently make up whole cloth the idea that there will be legal weed sold in Jamaican airports. The weed vending machine is a total invention of Green Rush Daily.
So we hope that the excuse for this extremely poor journalism is that some dank kush in the air has disturbed the soundwaves in their offices, making for a particularly wonky game of telephone, not that they’re just negligent, sloppy, or even intentionally misleading reporters.
The real kiosks that the real Jamaican government is really considering putting in are possibly meant to give the taxed, regulated ganja an edge over the black market stuff.
“The thought is that if you are coming out of the airport, there is a kiosk that you can go to so that whoever is coming out of immigration can go to that desk and register and get that clearance,” CLA chairman Hyacinth Lightbourne told the Gleaner.
Unlike in California, tourists can’t just come into the area and buy legal pot so long as they’re of age. They still need a medical card. Giving them as easy access to these as possible is advantageous to the government. Otherwise, visitors might go to the illicit drug dealers just to avoid an extra step.
And money is clearly on the minds of government officials weighing the kiosk additions. “In Colorado last year, even though it is recreational and medicinal, they sold about US$1 billion worth of marijuana and collected US$135 million in taxes for the state alone, with a population of five million-plus,” CLA member Delano Seiveright told the Gleaner. “…and the United States overall was about US$5.4 billion last year and [an anticipated] US$6.7 billion this year].”
Photo via Flickr user Global Panorama