US says it welcomes discussion on drug policy

US says it welcomes discussion on drug policy

Thursday, January 29, 2015

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THE United States Government says it welcomes discussion and debate on drug policy and that it is up to the people of Jamaica to decide which policies are most appropriate for the country within the realms of international law.

Yesterday's declaration came amidst a Jamaica Observer report suggesting that the US is uncomfortable with recent moves to decriminalise ganja for personal use in Jamaica.

"We recognise that it is important to examine what works and to discuss the trends and challenges our neighbours are facing. The US and Jamaica have a strong law-enforcement and security partnership. Our law enforcement agencies work together to combat transnational criminal networks and international drug trafficking and the violence they breed," Joshua Polacheck, counsellor for public affairs at the US Embassy Kingston, told the Observer.

The US, Polacheck said, "is firmly committed to upholding our obligations under the three UN drug conventions, as well as working with international partners, including Jamaica, to promote the goals of those conventions".

"These conventions are the foundation of international cooperation for dealing with all aspects of the drug problem, and we support them unwaveringly. The conventions allow for a degree of flexibility on how member states, such as Jamaica, implement their obligations, particularly with respect to drug use. These conventions anticipate variations in national legal frameworks," he emphasised.

"The United States understands that Jamaica may develop its own policies to address specific Jamaican concerns within Jamaican borders. Our focus, bilaterally and globally, remains on combatting international drug trafficking and transnational organised crime," he added.

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