Jamaica to Decriminalize Marijuana

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by RMJL, Apr 4, 2003.

  1. Jamaica to Decriminalize Marijuana
    Mon, March 31, 2003

    Two years ago Jamaica's National Ganja Commission recommended the decriminalization of marijuana for private use. The recommendation came after months of hearings and fell short of full-scale regulation aimed at undermining the illicit market in illegal drugs. In addition to recommending decriminalization, the Commission also called for education programs to reduce demand and increased efforts to eradicate large-scale marijuana cultivation.

    Sensitive to U.S. opposition, the Commission recommended that Jamaica seek out diplomatic support for its position throughout the international community. Upon release of the Commission's recommendation the U.S. government has made it very clear to Jamaican authorities that it is adamantly opposed to any changes in Jamaica's marijuana laws.

    However, with long overdue marijuana law reform enjoying unprecedented support in the international community, Jamaican Attorney General A J Nicholson has since gone on record as stating that legislation is now being prepared to give effect to the recommendation of the Commission.

    In a March 2003 interview, Nicholson did not say exactly when a bill will reach Parliament, but stressed that decriminalizing marijuana -- called ganja in Jamaica -- will be within a limited scope. "Yes, it will, for private use only," he told the Sunday Observer. Marijuana is widely used in Jamaica, and is said by Rastafarians to be a holy sacrament. But the use of the drug is illegal, for which a person can be fined and, or, jailed.

    In a speech to the Surrey Chapter of the Lay Magistrate's Association, Nicholson sought to draw a distinction between the historic use of marijuana in Jamaica and the country's more recent role as a trans-shipment point for cocaine and associated prohibition-related crime. "I am a 1942 model, which means I have been on planet earth for quite sometime and I know that it is only recently that we are having the kind of violent crimes that we are now experiencing," Nicholson told the lay magistrates. "So it couldn't be caused from ganja. The illegal trade in cocaine is what is tearing the heart out of Jamaica."


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