Jamaica Senate Passes Law to Decriminalize Cannabis, Allow MMJ

On February 6, the Jamaica Senate passed landmark legislation to address progressive marijuana policy reform — ironically, this momentous legislative development also fell on what would have been the 70th birthday of Jamaican superstar and popular marijuana icon Bob Marley.

The legislation came in the form of five amendments to the Dangerous Drugs Act. Ultimately, the changes in law make the possession of up to two ounces of “ganja” (as per the lawmakers’ phrasing) a ticketable, but non-arrestable, offense. It also allows the establishment of a lawful, regulated system for the use and distribution of ganja for “medical, therapeutic, and scientific purposes.”

The bill was piloted by Justice Minister Mark Golding and met some concerned opposition from Senator KD Knight, who announced cautious reservations because he hadn’t heard opinions from the National Council on Drug Abuse, the National Road Safety Council, or the minister of health regarding the proposed Dangerous Drugs Act amendments.

Ultimately, the bill will go on to the House of Representatives for further debate come the new parliamentary year.



Photo Credit: Dave O

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