Going Green in Panama

The Gallup people’s annual survey of the “happiest country on earth” put Panama in the number two spot, while the number one spot went to Paraguay. Guatemala was right behind Panama.  Now it appears there might be a reason for happiness in Guatemala and it’s not related to a booming economy or a cash cow Canal …

Going Green

“If the consumption of a product is legal, so is its trade…” and Guatemala is talking up marijuana as a new stimulus not only for users, but also for its economy.

An editorial in Central AmericaData says “Although the Guatemalan proposal to free up export of the drug will surely kick up some dust, its logic is unassailable.”

The legalization of marijuana in Uruguay and the U.S. states of Colorado and Washington has opened a door for a proposal by Guatemala to legalize its production and export without a drug lord in sight.

An article on S21.com.gt reports that: “… Guatemala has raised the idea with other Latin American countries within the OAS of legalizing the export marijuana as part of a debate on the reorientation of drug policy ahead of a summit on the subject in September.”

“… The region has left behind the politics of the drug war fueled by Washington in the 80s, which failed to reduce either consumption or production, and is now studying changes in the international treatment of marijuana after its legalization in Uruguay and the U.S. states of Colorado and Washington. ”

Guatemalan Foreign Minister, Fernando Carrera made his proposal during the assembly of the inter-American organization held in Paraguay, a country that “… is the largest producer of marijuana in South America, because in Paraguay there are fields where about 30,000 tons are grown each year, according to the authorities. ”

“… Cannabis accounts for 80% of the illicit global drug market. If you take it out of the equation you can focus attention on controlling the other 20%, which includes substances that are highly dangerous and harmful to health where there is probably no other choice but to ban them.”

Carrera said that “… legal studies are underway to see how to remove the current ban, through the issue of licenses to companies so that they can export to markets where marijuana is legal.” [NEWSROOM PANAMA]

Maybe common sense isn’t just good social policy, but good economics as well.

Of course there are those who “know better” and support whatever war happens to be in vogue no matter what the cost. Of course wars often serve to line the pockets of some, while killing off others, and keeping people employed to help along limping economies.

With a shortage of pot now in Washington, Oregon and Colorado, and Panama offering ideal conditions for growing “weed,” or so I am told, why not legalize it in Panama and start exporting big time.  Panama exports coffee, bananas, pineapples, melons, and peppers already, so why not add pot?

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