HomeNewsBriefJamaica Moves Closer to Marijuana Decriminalization
BRIEF

Jamaica Moves Closer to Marijuana Decriminalization

DRUG POLICY / 1 OCT 2014 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

Jamaica has taken further steps toward legalizing medical marijuana and decriminalizing possession of the drug for all users on the island nation, as debate continues throughout the region on drug policy reform. 

On September 30, Justice Minister Mark Golding announced that legislation had been drafted to legalize the cultivation and consumption of medical marijuana, reported the Jamaica Observer. The proposed amendments to the Dangerous Drugs Act lay the groundwork for the regulated production of marijuana for medicinal and scientific purposes.

Golding also stated that the amendments to the law would decriminalize personal possession of marijuana, reported the AP. Under the new legislation, individuals caught with 2 ounces or less of marijuana would only be charged with a petty offense. Golding said the amendments were expected to be approved by the end of the year.

On the same day, the House of Representatives approved amendments to the Criminal Records Act, which will automatically expunge minor marijuana possession charges from criminal records.

InSight Crime Analysis

The recent steps taken by Jamaican lawmakers represent concrete progress, joining other countries in the region such as Colombia, Ecuador, and Costa Rica that have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana. In February, government officials told a cannabis taskforce that marijuana would be decriminalized by the end of 2014.

SEE ALSO: Drug Policy Reform

A consensus is building across Latin America and the Caribbean about the need for drug policy reform, but obstacles still remain in achieving it. For example, Argentine President Cristina Kirchner gave her approval in August to begin drafting proposals for the decriminalization of marijuana, but representatives of the Catholic Church -- invoking the name of Pope Francis -- have come out against the move. Meanwhile, drug users in Bolivia, Brazil, Peru and Mexico still often face strict punishments for marijuana possession.

Even in Uruguay, considered the leader of drug policy reform in the region, there has been strong opposition within the country to the government's plan to regulate the cultivation and consumption of marijuana for recreational purposes. The success or failure of Uruguay's reform could determine the outcome of drug policy reform across the Americas.

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

ARGENTINA / 25 OCT 2022

Bolivia's cocaine trade is on the up. Originally a coca leaf cultivator, Bolivia has moved to cocaine production.

ARGENTINA / 1 FEB 2022

In 2021, most countries in Latin America and the Caribbean experienced a marked increase in murders. Resurgent violence was to…

CARIBBEAN / 16 NOV 2021

Rival factions, secret burial sites, homicidal bosses – the ongoing trial of dozens of members of the Klansman gang in…

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…