Up until 2015, marijuana was not legal for medical purposes in Jamaica. While it may not have been hard to find the sweet leaf in reggae’s homeland, there was little protection from prosecution and no taxes or facilities of distribution. Many areas of the island suffer from poverty and the absence of a sustainable economy. There is hope that this new forming industry can provide a tourist goldmine. In March of this year, the first medical marijuana facility opened its doors to anyone with a medical marijuana prescription from any state in the U.S. It is called Kaya Farms, and is located on the northern coastline of the country. They hope to attract tourists from countries all around the world and accept paperwork or licenses of any kind that certifies your use of cannabis is for medical purposes. Those who do not have a recommendation can come along for the trip too because there is a doctor on site at select times that can provide recommendations at the facility. Jamaica is really pushing to stimulate the economy and benefit from its premium outdoor cannabis climate.
I think this is a great move by the government to embrace the history of the plant on the island and that they will be successful in raising money and creating jobs as more facilities open. They are essentially opening their business to an unlimited market of cannabis consumers. One business will not be able to sustain demand for long and many more will enter in to fill the void. Looking at how much money a single state has made off taxing recreational weed sales, entrepreneurs in Jamaica should be hopeful. In the calendar year of 2017, Colorado raised $247,368,473 in tax, license, and fee revenue from operating marijuana businesses (Colorado Department of Revenue). While Jamaica technically is only selling to patients, one site doctors open up their market significantly. A beautiful tropical climate draws plenty of tourists as it is, and a place like Colorado can’t compete with its location. That is not to mention the locals who choose to purchase their medicine from Kaya Farms and other dispensaries. I believe there are likely well-established suppliers on the black market that will remain in competition with facilities like they currently do in the states.
I know I would enjoy a trip to Jamaica much more knowing I’m already certified to purchase cannabis legally while on vacation. Not having to worry about finding a reliable dealer with a quality product would be a great relief. However, because the dispensary just recently opened a few months ago, prices may be inflated. This is likely to happen due to a lack of retail locations with medicine. The quality medicine is going to be sold at a premium that surpasses local distributors. After letting the market develop and saving some cash, the vacation may happen for me.
A lot of people are probably surprised by the news that Matt Barnes (a 15 year forward in the NBA) is claiming a large percentage of players regularly use cannabis. Athletes in all sports are supposed to have some sort of drug testing program in place. Not only for federally controlled substances, but performance enhancing drugs as well. Both of these pose potentially career-changing consequences for the high percentage of cannabis users currently playing. Athletes are subject to four random test throughout each NBA season. Once they complete those tests, they would be free to use cannabis as they please without worrying. The off-season is free from drug testing as well. These rules on drug testing do provide an opportunity for those who choose to indulge, and according to Matt Barnes, that number is around 85% of the basketball population.
Many people who play sports for fun like myself would be likely to say that consumption before a game made it much more easy to focus and get caught up in the moment of a big play. Many professional basketball players are using it for different purposes, like relieving the physical wear and tear on their bodies. It is a much safer and enjoyable alternative to alcohol, and that’s another primary reason for use among athletes. For Matt Barnes, he admitted to using it before games and that in his best games he had been under its influence. Being retired gives him the freedom to say these things, and it makes you wonder how many other guys are blazing before they arrive at the arena. It shouldn’t matter at all whether they decide to or not, as long as long as it’s not negatively affecting their performance. An athletes consistently demonstrated ability is what should determine their playing time on the floor, as long as their not abusing performance-enhancing drugs. Cannabis is not like traditional performance-enhancing drugs that boost muscle growth and are made in a lab. However, like any drug, it affects people differently and if some players indulged before a game, it could be a disaster. It should be the player’s judgment call, not the leagues on what substances to use. With marijuana legal in 8 states and medical marijuana legal in a majority of the rest, the prohibited status in the NBA is becoming more questionable. The actions of some of their players are sometimes 100 percent legal where they live or are traveling to. Use of alcohol and prescription pills remain allowed but are decreasing in popularity.
Using cannabis while strict testing and rules are in place, speaks volumes about how beneficial it is to those in the league. Some fans, as well as the sports media, will view a violation of marijuana rules as a big deal. More importantly, it will be viewed as unprofessional by the coaches and results in some serious consequences for repeated offenses. The first time a player is caught failing a test, they must simply complete a substance abuse course. After that though, they face hefty fines and larger game suspensions for each violation of the rule. It is also likely with the insane competition that a pretty good athlete can be lost about among all the other options who lack a marijuana record. The time has come for the NBA to catch up to the public’s opinion, as well as the laws being passed across the country that are legalizing and decriminalizing the plant. Studies have shown how opioid abuse has gone down in states that legalize medical or recreational marijuana and there’s no reason why the same thing wouldn’t happen within the league.
Since the new year has began, I personally have already had to switch dispensaries that I was using due to the new medical marijuana regulations coming into effect. Starting December 15th of last year, the state began accepting applications for the various types of businesses including: cultivation, processing, transportation, and retail shops. Retail dispensaries that were operating for years without any problems with local ordinances are now receiving letters ordering them to shut down until they are approved for a new license. According to the Detroit Free Press, over 200 dispensaries in the state have been sent these cease and desist letters.
While the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs claims that the availability of medicine will be unaffected for patients, there are other consequences to this move. Although profitable, opening a dispensary demands an enormous amount of overhead and variable costs. All of these business owners who had invested money in both their property as well as the medicine they had in stock, are going to lose patients during the temporary to permanent closure. This is not right, and if they didn’t want them operating they shouldn’t have ever been given permission. Yes they technically were unregulated businesses, but that was how the system had forced them to operate for years under the protection of local ordinances. Some of these businesses in the past had even gone the lengths of relocating in order to comply with the ridiculous zoning requirements imposed by the city of Detroit. Even playing by the rules doesn’t always guarantee protection of your business in this industry. This transition period of awarding licenses to applicants is supposed to end in June, but at it’s current pace many in the industry are expecting delays.
There are many different opinions on whether this regulation is a good thing for the cannabis community or not. The regulation establishes new taxes for those using it for medical purposes. It also will make a system to track a plants progress from seed form to sale and ensure all products are only produced by licensed commercial cultivators. Personally, I think regulation is not a good thing and it should be left to the already existing large community of cultivators who produce much higher quality cannabis on a small scale. The patient- caregiver system that was established in 2008 when medical cannabis passed in Michigan, is still the backbone of the industry. Dispensaries that are currently existing get their medicine from caregivers or patients, not some 3000 plant facility that machine trims commercial quality bud. It seems inevitable that with regulation small time grows will be undercut by those growing on a large scale.
The dispensary that I choose to visit now for my concentrate and edible needs, is much larger then other collectives I had been a member at. The inventory selection is much larger as well as a higher number of employees working. Larger dispensaries seems to be the trend as the number of operating dispensaries continues to be squeezed by the state government. To this day it remains a risky business plan to enter the “not quite regulated” medical marijuana industry in Michigan. For those looking to get into the trade, it would be best to apply for one of the new licenses and then wait before trying to set up shop during this uncertain time.
Many of us cannabis consumers have no problem paying a premium price for a product that is significantly more potent then normal. On the flip side, CBD-only producers and distributors have proven people are willing to pay top dollar for the non-psychoactive variety of medicine. There is no doubt that these types of products extracted from the hemp plant has many uses in the medical world just like dried cannabis flowers do. However, I was completely shocked to learn the prices these companies were advertising this natural product for. To be clear, there is absolutely zero euphoria or uplifting qualities to these edibles and oils. At the same time, people find it helps them relax at night and fall to sleep easier without any noticeable areas of pain. It also has a relatively short list of negative side effects when compared to man made medicine. These include: low blood pressure, dry mouth, and sometimes drowsiness.
Despite the positive benefits CBD can offer to patients with different aliments, it is no competition for the plant in it’s natural form containing all the cannabinoids. All patients that benefit from the effects of CBD would also benefit from the effects of THC because they balance each other out so much better then when either is isolated on it’s own. The CBD market is limited to those who can’t consume cannabis because it’s illegal as well as children, who nobody wants getting high. There are also those who fear failing a drug test and losing their job in an unstable economy. CBD is an attractive product for these groups of people with medical problems. There is a much larger market for people who want to really have a euphoric and enjoyable experience, one worth their hard earned money. So how much are these people selling CBD oils and gummies for exactly?
There were definitely variety and price differences among distributors like with any manufactured product on the market, but all remained within a rather small ballpark. For a bag of infused gummy bears the most competitive price I could find was $20 for a relatively large bag. It would probably be enough to get you through a couple days, but that would be the extent of it. Imagine spending $20 every few days. Even for medicine that provides great relief, most people would think twice about that price tag. The Oils are not cheap either and depending on amount of milligrams of CBD and milliliters of fluid, range from $20-$60 a dropper. They are probably your best budget option though, as the edibles wouldn’t last nearly as long as dropping a few drops every time you dose. You could purchase a traditional edible for $10 that would likely be an extremely strong dose capable of splitting into at least two separate sessions. Not only would it be euphoric, but extremely effective at helping someone sleep for hours uninterrupted.
The way CBD is currently being priced, it’s pretty clear that if you have safe access to cannabis products to choose them over CBD products for medical purposes. You will be spending a similar if not smaller amount each month on your medication and are likely to be less stressed along the way. Unless you really don’t like the feeling mary jane gives you, I suggest sticking to the flowers.