Jamaica seeks to change international treaties on marijuana.

Peter Tosh
Peter Tosh

The homeland of the fiercest marijuana advocate, Peter Tosh, is getting ready to lead the charge to change international treaties on marijuana.  Peter Tosh is not here to see this, but wherever he is, the man who sang “Legalize It” must be smiling and filled with joy.

Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Anthony Hylton, says Jamaica intends to lead a charge in the United Nations to effect changes to the international treaties concerning marijuana.

The aim is to change the schedule class of marijuana in light of scientific studies that have proven its therapeutic benefits and medicinal value.

“We believe that the schedule in which marijuana is now placed, which is one of the highest schedules as a drug, we believe that it should be removed from that schedule and looked at in the light of… the evidence, which has revealed its strong medicinal (value),” Hylton said, while addressing a session of the recently concluded Jamaica Investment Forum (JIF) at the Montego Bay Convention Center in St James.

“Jamaica intends to participate, and to lead, if necessary, a process in the United Nations to have those treaties amended or to reflect what I believe is the evidence that is available, and take those fully into account in the international treaties as they now exist,” he said.

The industry minister noted that Jamaica has a reputation in the international community as a legal nation and has the requisite skills and know-how to lead a diplomatic effort to have the laws and treaties changed.

Jamaica has passed the Dangerous Drugs Amendment Act to decriminalize the use of ganja for specified purposes.

The legislation makes the possession of two ounces or less of ganja a non-arrestable but ticketable offense attracting a fixed monetary penalty. It will also allow for a scheme of licenses, permits, and other authorizations, which enable the establishment of a lawful, regulated industry for ganja for medical, therapeutic and scientific purposes.

Minister Hylton, who was responding to queries from potential investors, regarding the production or export of ganja, made it clear that the passage of the legislation does not provide for such undertakings.

“Our treaty obligations at the moment require that we address some issues having to do with exports and trans-shipment into other countries. We have to be respectful of those, otherwise we (can easily) become an outlaw in… The community of nations,” he pointed out.

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