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Senate tables historic ganja Bill

Saturday, January 24, 2015

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Minister of Justice, Senator Mark Golding tabled the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act, 2015 in senate yesterday, January 23. The Bill seeks to decriminalize ganja for medicinal, religious, and private/personal use.

The amendments to the act will make the possession of small quantities of ganja, amounting to two ounces or less, a non-arrestable but ticketable infraction, attracting a fine payable outside of the court, but not resulting in the possessor attaining a criminal record.

However, failure to pay the monetary penalty will be deemed a minor offence punishable in the Petty Sessions Court by an order for community service.

Subject to specified exemptions the smoking of ganja in public spaces is not allowed as stipulated by the legislation.

The Proposed changes to the Act will also facilitate ganja being used for therapeutic purposes, as prescribed by a registered practitioner, or for scientific research conducted by an accredited tertiary institution or otherwise approved by the Scientific Research Council (SRC).
The changes will enable the use of ganja in religious engagements by stakeholders, such as Rastafarians.

The Bill also makes provisions for the creation of a Cannabis Licensing Authority to regulate the proposed hemp and medicinal ganja industry in Jamaica.