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Jamaica official touts benefits of pot research

December 11, 2013

KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — Jamaica’s science and technology minister has become the latest influential political figure on the Caribbean island to tout the benefits of medical marijuana research.

Phillip Paulwell says Jamaica could reap “significant social and economic benefits” from cannabis research and development.

Pot has been illegal in Jamaica for a century. But Paulwell says the plant known locally as ganja is “enormously versatile” and he has instructed the island’s scientific research council to lead efforts to spur researchers and entrepreneurs.

He said: “I encourage all Jamaicans to look into ganja — not as a recreational pursuit, but as a scientific endeavor.”

Paulwell made the comments late Tuesday at the launch of a book about cannabis co-written by a Jamaican scientist who is starting a company to capitalize on medical marijuana.