Move quickly on marijuana tourism, group urges St Lucia govt

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Move quickly on marijuana tourism, group urges St Lucia govt

Postby Dave_smith » Sun Sep 14, 2014 10:05 am

CASTRIES, St Lucia (CMC) --The Cannabis Movement of St Lucia is advocating marijuana tourism as a way out of the current economic crisis facing the island, but the Chairman of the movement – Andre De Caires says that St Lucia may be too late in jumping on the bandwagon.

De Caires spoke as preparations are being made to discuss marijuana tourism during the Caribbean Tourism Organisation's (CTO) State of the Industry Conference (SOTIC) next week.

The September 17-19 conference will be held in the United States Virgin Islands.

De Caires said he was of the opinion that St Lucia’s Tourism Minister – Lorne Theophilus should attend the conference.

“We are squandering opportunities because it’s been years since we in the Cannabis Movement and the Hemp Initiative have been speaking about these things and our leaders do not seem to realize that this is a way out of the economic crisis,” De Caires said.

He said had St Lucia seized on the economic opportunities offered by marijuana it would have proved to be a “profitable option.”

However De Caires lamented that everyone was now jumping on the bandwagon.

“For us not to be with the rest of the Caribbean on this issue just shows a lack of leadership,” he asserted, adding that from the comments made by the ruling Labour Party administration, it appears that government officials do not even want to discuss the marijuana issue.

The CTO said the debate surrounding marijuana tourism has taken a sharper focus in recent months, following its legalisation for recreational use by two US states, including Colorado.

Uruguay has also become the first country in the world to make it legal to grow, sell and consume cannabis.

Since it became legal to smoke marijuana in Colorado at the start of the year, there have been several reports of a boom in arrivals from both within and outside the United States.

The Colorado office of state planning and budgeting reported US$19 million in tax revenue from recreational marijuana during the first half of the year.

Tourism is currently St Lucia’s biggest foreign exchange earner, with the United States being the most important source market for visitors.
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