Jamaica passes “ganja” Bill
The Jamaica parliament on Tuesday night gave the green light to the amendments of the Dangerous Drugs Act to make possession of two ounces or less of marijuana a non-arrestable, ticketable offence that attracts no criminal record.
National Security Minister Peter Bunting piloted the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Bill that was passed with five amendments in the Senate on February 6.
Opposition Spokesman on Justice and Security Delroy Chuck called for the Portia Simpson-Miller government to renegotiate international treaties relating to marijuana. He told legislators that Jamaica should push for marijuana, popularly known here as “ganja”, to be struck from the United Nations list of prohibited substances.
The government has said it intends to cash in on the decriminalisation of ganja, particularly in the area of medicinal use, which is a US$2.5 billion market in the United States.
The reaction to the news on social media was swift with an outpouring of support via Twitter.
Under the amendment to the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act a person found in possession of a small quantity of ganja, if a minor, or an adult who appears to be dependent on the substance, is to be referred to the National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA) by the police officer issuing the ticket.
Additionally, the Bill prohibits the smoking of marijuana in public places and makes provisions for the granting of licences, permits and other authorisations to enable the establishment of a regulated industry for marijuana for medical, scientific, and therapeutic uses.
It also provides for the creation of a Cannabis Licensing Authority which will be responsible for developing the regulations governing the medical marijuana industry.