HomeNewsBriefJamaica to Become Latest LatAm Nation to Decriminalize Marijuana
BRIEF

Jamaica to Become Latest LatAm Nation to Decriminalize Marijuana

CARIBBEAN / 25 FEB 2014 BY MIRIAM WELLS EN

Jamaica plans to decriminalize marijuana before the end of the year, bringing it in line with many of its Latin American neighbors, but raising the question of what effect this might have on its significant illegal export market.

The island's Cannabis Commercial and Medicinal Research Taskforce (CCMRT), a government-established coalition of civil society groups that has been investigating how a medical marijuana industry could be established, said it received a promise from government minister Phillip Paulwell to decriminalize the drug, reported the Jamaica Observer.

Paulwell, the Minister for Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, told the task force last week that "ganja will be decriminalized in Jamaica this year and emphasized that Jamaica cannot be allowed to be left behind on the issue," CCMRT leader Delano Seiveright said in a statement.

"He also reiterated the multiple economic, social and cultural benefits that Jamaica stands to gain" by changing marijuana laws, he added.

During the CCMRT's meeting with Paulwell, they agreed to formally launch a Future Ganja Growers Association next month to get the industry underway.

This association would be used to push the government to establish "a properly regulated cannabis industry in all aspects, cultivation, agro-processing, medicinal and its many and varied by-products."

InSight Crime Analysis

Jamaica has been considering marijuana decriminalization for a long time. A government commission recommended decriminalizing the possession of small amounts over a decade ago, but the plans were sidelined due to fears about an adverse reaction from the United States. These fears have lessened as the US has begun to take a less hard-line stance against marijuana use.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Jamaica

There are few details on what exactly is being planned in the most recent reports, but it appears almost certain Jamaica will join neighbors including Ecuador, Colombia, Costa Rica and Argentina in allowing some amount of marijuana for personal use. This also forms part of a wider Latin American movement to treat drug addiction as a public health issue rather than a crime.

Talk of launching a growers association suggests Jamaica may go even further, moving towards Uruguay's example in establishing a regulated cannabis industry. 

The prospect of decriminalization and regulation raises the question of what effect it will have on Jamaica's significant marijuana exports. The island is the largest Caribbean supplier of marijuana to the United States, estimated to produce 15,000 hectares annually, and a rise in murders last year was attributed to inter-gang conflicts over the country's drug trade.

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

COLOMBIA / 19 JUL 2012

Colombia's Constitutional Court has approved a government bill to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of cocaine and marijuana, reversing…

DRUG POLICY / 7 NOV 2012

The passing of marijuana legalization ballots in Washington and Colorado raises the question of whether these measures will hit the…

CARIBBEAN / 7 JAN 2013

The former lover of Puerto Rican drug lord Jose David Figueroa Agosto has accused a presidential candidate in the Dominican Republic…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Who Are Memo Fantasma and Sergio Roberto de Carvalho?

24 JUN 2022

Inside the criminal career of Memo Fantasma  In March 2020, InSight Crime revealed the identity and whereabouts of Memo Fantasma, a paramilitary commander and drug trafficker living in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Environmental and Academic Praise

17 JUN 2022

InSight Crime’s six-part series on the plunder of the Peruvian Amazon continues to inform the debate on environmental security in the region. Our Environmental Crimes Project Manager, María Fernanda Ramírez,…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Series on Plunder of Peru’s Amazon Makes Headlines

10 JUN 2022

Since launching on June 2, InSight Crime’s six-part series on environmental crime in Peru’s Amazon has been well-received. Detailing the shocking impunity enjoyed by those plundering the rainforest, the investigation…

THE ORGANIZATION

Duarte’s Death Makes Waves

3 JUN 2022

The announcement of the death of Gentil Duarte, one of the top dissident commanders of the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), continues to reverberate in Venezuela and Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Cattle Trafficking Acclaim, Investigation into Peru’s Amazon 

27 MAY 2022

On May 18, InSight Crime launched its most recent investigation into cattle trafficking between Central America and Mexico. It showed precisely how beef, illicitly produced in Honduras, Guatemala…