BLACK RIVER, St Elizabeth – Minister of National Security Dr Horace Chang says legislative reform is needed to treat people differently from those who smuggle ganja for guns and those who plant for other uses.
Speaking at the St Elizabeth police's headquarters in Black River on Thursday, Dr Chang said there is an imbalance in the “treatment” of those involved in the drugs for gun trade and the average ganja farmer.
“We have to look at our laws. The man who goes to Haiti and brings back a firearm, we catch him going to Haiti with 1,000 pounds of compressed ganja. He gets the same treatment [as] the farmer in Slipe gets, when you catch him with a square of ganja or two pounds. We have to look seriously at that,” he said.
With the country being centrally located in the Caribbean and authorities continuously clamping down on the drugs for guns trade, Dr Chang believes the penalties should be harsh for drug smugglers.
“Those who are trading in ganja or transshipping cocaine and bringing guns into Jamaica must be treated differently from the little farmer out here. I have no problem with the farmer who has been growing ganja from before I was born, that is not a problem for me. They smoke it largely and use it in their religious rituals now,” he said.
The Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act was brought into operation in Jamaica in April 2015.
More popularly known as the 'Ganja Law', it makes possession of two or less ounces of ganja a ticketable offence; prohibits the smoking of ganja in public places; and makes provisions for the granting of licenses as well as the establishment of a regulated industry for ganja for medical, scientific and therapeutic uses.
Citizens are allowed to grow up to five cannabis plants.
— Kasey Williams