I have been watching with fascination the decriminalization of marijuana in the US. I have also noted some interesting trends in how the strengthening culture for legalization of marijuana across the various States has impact the Caribbean and Latin American region. More recently an article in the Washington Post highlighting a growing market for gourmet pot from the U.S has, in my mind, identified some interesting points. It has only been a year since the first US State legalized medical and recreational use of marijuana is small amounts, however legalization has already created a thriving and fast growing market for marijuana with domestic markets and now there is a growing international demand for homegrown gourmet pot from the US. The engines of neoliberal economic growth, has altered the traditional dynamics of supply and demand for Marijuana between the developing world and the developed. While illicit markets for Marijuana remain; the legalization of Marijuana in the US market has helped to filter some of the demand for illegal marijuana towards a legal market. Competition has lead to legal medical and recreational domestic markets diversifying marijuana and creating several strains and varieties. Legalization has also created avenues for domestic suppliers to drive down the cost of production for Marijuana therefore making it more affordable and competitive. Of concern to me, is the shift towards an increasing demand for US grown marijuana–now termed gourmet pot (given its diversification)–among pop smokers in the developing world. If marijuana becomes just another legal good, what can developing countries such as Jamaica do to protect the value and the comparative cost of this product in a global economy?
[click picture below to open article in Washington Post]