Jamaican lawmakers decriminalized possession of small amounts of Marijuana under a new law, passed Tuesday while also laying the groundwork for regulating the drug’s cultivation and medical usage.
After much debate, lawmakers voted to make possession of small amounts of pot — up to two ounces — a petty offense that would not result in a criminal record. Furthermore, cultivation of five or fewer plants on any premises will be permitted in the country.
Rastafarians have been edifying worldwide benefits of the sacramental herb and many reggae artistes like Bob Marley have carried the plants liberation message to the four corners of the earth, yet ganja has remained illegal in Jamaica. Since 2003, Stepping High Festival has been exhibiting Jamaica’s outstanding Ganja cultivation in Negril.
Additionally, the Bill prohibits the smoking of ganja in public places, and makes provisions for the granting of licences, permits and other authorisations to enable the establishment of a regulated industry for ganja for medical, scientific, and therapeutic uses, according to the Jamaica Observer. Jamaica’s move to decriminalise small quantities of ganja has gained much international media attention since it was announced last night.
The Bill was passed with five amendments in the Senate on February 6, piloted by Minister of Justice Senator Mark Golding, under intense scrutiny from the Opposition, during a seven-hour debate.
It then moved to the House of Representatives where the 2015 amendments were passed in the House of Representatives yesterday, after a marathon debate seeing more than 12 contributions from both sides of the aisle, among other things, establishes a legal and formal framework from which a legitimate Cannabis (Ganja) Industry may be developed in Jamaica.