As of January 2014, Jamaica had an unemployment rate of 14.9%, which was a decrease from the 15.4% in December 2013.

Jamaican reggae singer Bob Marley’s celebrity in the U.S. and openness about his use of marijuana has formed a reputation for Jamaica as being an island where marijuana use and sales are legal. Jamaica is in actuality a very conservative country that prohibits the use and distribution of marijuana.

The growth of marijuana crops, in fact, have steadily declined because of the war on drugs by the U.S. and other competitors, but this has not hindered American travelers from visiting Jamaica in hopes of experiencing the effects of marijuana that Bob Marley openly supported.

Regardless of the decline, Jamaica still has a vast supply of marijuana tourists from the U.S. and all over the world. Jamaica is still the lead smuggler of marijuana into the U.S., which brings a great deal of people into the country to buy weed and explore the cannabis culture in Jamaica.

Many growers are quickly learning that making money off of tourists is quite easy when it includes marijuana. Nine Mile, famous for being the hometown of Bob Marley, offers many different marijuana tours, each of which take relatively large groups of Americans, Germans and Russians through small marijuana farms.

These tours are also common in Negril, Jamaica, and are slowly adapting to become common in places such as Colorado and Washington state, where marijuana has become legalized.

With these tours, average-to-minimum waged locals are able to make a decent chunk of money by letting tourists explore their farms and sample their inventory, often leading many of the tourists to purchase their product.

One Jamaican marijuana farmer dubbed “Breezy” sells his bags of marijuana through the wall-hole of a museum, where marijuana tourists line up and smoke weed, usually just for the sheer novelty that Bob Marley smoked weed on the same island.

One tourist traveling from Minnesota stated, “I can get stronger stuff at home, but there’s something really special about smoking marijuana in Jamaica. I mean, this is the marijuana that inspired Bob Marley.”

The large amount of marijuana tourism that is illegally occurring in Jamaica begs the question of why it hasn’t been legalized.

Marijuana could prove to be a great benefit and a pillar for health tourists. One Jamaican scientist named Henry Lowe, who was a partner in developing a marijuana-based glaucoma treatment, believes that legalizing marijuana could bring in even more tourism than there already is.

By legalizing marijuana, attention and money is estimated to be pulled from gangs and arresting large criminal parties and be refocused on other important matters, such as creating official jobs for those living below the poverty line and helping lower class growers gain a larger following. Overall, the island would benefit and reap massive economic gain by legalizing marijuana and freeing up money.

– Becka Felcon

Sources: Trading Economics, The Guardian, Telegraph
Photo: High Times Caribbean