HomeNewsBriefJamaica Joins Ranks of LatAm Countries Decriminalizing Marijuana
BRIEF

Jamaica Joins Ranks of LatAm Countries Decriminalizing Marijuana

CARIBBEAN / 26 FEB 2015 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

Jamaica has finally approved legislation to decriminalize marijuana possession and legalize its use for medicinal and scientific purposes, joining a growing number of countries to take steps towards liberalizing drug laws.

On February 24, Jamaica's House of Representatives passed a long debated amendment to the country's Dangerous Drug Act concerning marijuana use that will now become law.

The act decriminalizes possession of up to two ounces (56 grams) of marijuana, making it a "ticketable" offence that leaves no criminal record, reported the Jamaica Observer. In the case of adherents to the Rastafarian religion, it will be completely decriminalized, according to the Observer.

However, smoking marijuana in public places will not be permitted, and if a minor or a person judged to be dependent on the substance is found in possession of the drug, they will be referred to the National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA).

The law also creates mechanisms for granting licenses for the medicinal, scientific and therapeutic uses of marijuana and for the creation of a Cannabis Licensing Authority to regulate the medical marijuana industry.

Government ministers highlighted the economic opportunities enabled by the amendment in the areas of medical research, industrial hemp and medical tourism, according to the Observer, while one member of parliament called for Jamaica to push for marijuana to be taken off the United Nations list of prohibited substances, reported the Jamaica Gleaner.

InSight Crime Analysis

With the passing of the new amendment, Jamaica joins several other countries in the region that are edging towards a new paradigm on marijuana use.

Uruguay has now begun to implement its marijuana laws, in the most comprehensive drug reforms the region has seen yet, while days before Jamaica passed its law, Alaska became the latest US state to legalize marijuana consumption, with regulations governing sales to follow. Various other countries have already decriminalized possession of marijuana for personal use or approved its use for medical purposes, and more are currently examining legal reforms.

SEE ALSO: Uruguay, Organized Crime and the Politics of Drugs

Nevertheless, Jamaica's new law remains a half measure, as the production and wholesale of marijuana are still illegal. Jamaica is a major marijuana producer, not only for the domestic market but also for export, and it remains to be seen how the new liberalized consumption laws will work alongside a thriving criminal industry that supplies those consumers.

Jamaica is the main Caribbean exporter of marijuana to the United States, and US officials have expressed concern that the new law may encourage an increase in production.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

CARIBBEAN / 13 OCT 2022

Two gangs have coordinated an amphibious attack on a key industrial area north of Haiti's capital of Port-au-Prince.

COCAINE / 7 SEP 2022

The port of Caucedo, the Dominican Republic's main maritime entry point, is trying to fight back against a wave of…

CARIBBEAN / 1 JUN 2021

With its homicide rates higher than ever in 2019 and 2020, Barbados is now confronting a difficult question: will it…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…