Marijuana Market Giants

January 4, 2018 Opinion , OPINION/NEWS


Ricardo Swire


Jamaica is the Caribbean’s legendary marijuana market leader. In the recent past Jamaica Constabulary Force’s (JCF) counter-narcotic operations were compounded when compelling obedience met politics at the crossroads of enforcement and commerce. Caribbean intelligence officials are cognisant that scientifically marijuana used for medical purposes is “different” to ganja used for recreation. Medical marijuana needs zero point four percent of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to function as a painkiller. This type of herb contains a large percentage of cannabidiol (CBD) that provides a “sedative effect” to epileptic users.

Law-enforcement-intercepted marijuana is specially cultivated with excessively high percentages of THC, or psychoactive property, which eliminates its eligibility for medical use. There is a noticeable division among Jamaican citizens regarding the legalization of “ganja.” Canada’s corporate interest in Jamaican marijuana was demonstrated by a CDN$1.2 billion medical marijuana prospectus. A senior executive from MedCannAccess in Toronto, Ontario acknowledged that growing marijuana in Canada, with yearly seasonal changes, is costly. Importing the product from tropical Jamaica is cheaper.

Caribbean national intelligence data catalogued Canada’s mushroomed marijuana demand. Currently North America’s medical marijuana retail rates range between CND$7 and CND$10 per gram. MedCannAccess is one of several foreign corporate entities that bombard Jamaican officials with enticements, to monetize marijuana and benefit from the lucrative “legal” export market. Jamaica’s cash stimulants pattern similar incentives provided to Paraguay, South America’s largest marijuana producer. Paraguayan political officials deeply ponder tapping the medical marijuana export market.

The multi-million dollar corporate ambitions have caused ambiguities that retard Paraguay’s National Antidrug Secretariat’s (SENAD) interdiction, seizures and prosecutions of marijuana traffickers. Legislative debates and research have been ad hock, while Caribbean counternarcotics enforcers battle a wider regional criminal structure that works as a “cooperative.” Paraguayan, Brazilian and Argentinean traffickers meet in Uruguay’s capital Montevideo to coordinate marijuana movements. Brazilian drug cartels manage north Paraguay’s supply of which eighty percent is smuggled to Brazil. The remainder transported and handed over at synchronized points to Argentine counterparts.

The marijuana shipments are subsequently directed to international markets. Traffickers prefer maritime transport, as mega-weights can be moved in single transfers. At the end of 2016 Paraguay’s SENAD officers intercepted thirty-two metric tons of marijuana, transported in separate waterborne shipments. A similar volume fills eighty small planes. One bureaucratic loophole, exploited by marijuana traffickers, is that Argentinean counter-narcotics enforcers are not authorized to board and search vessels that do not register Argentina as the final destination. Across Argentina’s south to southwest border Paraguayan farmers receive US$30 per kilo. After the psychoactive drug arrives in Chile its value increases to US$280 for similar weight.

Traffickers’ payments of US$10,000 per trip persuade several ships’ crew members to facilitate marijuana movements. The Brazil/Paraguay land border extends from Foz do Iguacu to Corumba Mato Grosso do Sul. Some Brazilian and Paraguayan roads run parallel. Brazilian road surfaces remain rough as politicians are bribed to delay state sponsored asphalt paving exercises, dedicated to the improvement of resident access. Large Paraguayan marijuana plantation operators are fore-warned of SENAD raids by criminal infiltrators which make interceptions, seizures and detentions for possession and supply difficult.





Ricardo Swire - Tuck Magazine

Ricardo Swire

Ricardo Swire is the Principal Consultant at R-L-H Security Consultants & Business Support Services and writes on a number of important issues.

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