Ja­maica passes “ganja” Bill

The Star (St. Lucia) - - REGIONAL -

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.

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