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.

Compartir icon icon icon

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.

Related Content

CARIBBEAN / 26 DEC 2019

A series of marijuana seizures reported over the last few months, highlight the magnitude of the drug flow from Jamaica…

JAMAICA / 1 APR 2021

After recording the highest murder rate in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2020, Jamaica is already seeing an uptick…

DRUG POLICY / 31 OCT 2014

A new study published by the British government found that punitive drug laws don't necessarily result in less drug use,…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…