Though not legalized has the great Peter Tosh wanted it to be and spent his life promoting, Jamaica has finally decriminalize marijuana. This move is long overdue considering that Jamaica is one of, if not the first country that comes to mind when one thinks of marijuana. For too long, the home of Peter Tosh and Bob Marley two of the world’s most famous marijuana users has been ill-treating and abusing ganja smokers.
Minister of National Security Peter Bunting said the change came after an “elephantine” slog through parliament that took decades.
“To describe this Bill’s development as elephantine, is to label it in euphemistic terms since the Parliamentary deliberations on it commenced as far back as 38 years ago,” he said in a statement.
He added: “It eliminates an unnecessary source of friction between police and citizens, and ensures that our young people are not gratuitously shackled with criminal records.”
The changes to the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act will make possession of two ounces or less of marijuana a non-arrestable, ticket-able offense, that attracts no criminal record. It will also permit the use of marijuana for religious, medical, scientific, and therapeutic purposes.
Finally, it will provide for regulation through the granting of licenses to permit the development of a lawful industry for medical ganja and industrial hemp, the minister’s statement said.
“It is significant because it begins to correct decades of criminalizing tens of thousands of Jamaicans, mostly poor young black males, for possession of a little ‘spliff’,” Bunting said.
“This progressive legislation also begins to correct the victimization of our Rastafarian brethren which started in colonial times and continued after Independence,” he added.