“Free the weed” Jamaica decriminalises marijuana
Lawmakers pass anticipated legislation that reduces possession of small quantities to a petty offence and paves way for medical cannabis industry.
Jamaican lawmakers have passed an act to decriminalise small amounts of marijuana and establish a licensing agency to regulate a lawful medical cannabis industry on the island.
After several hours of debate legislators in the lower house on Tuesday gave final passage to drug law amendments that make possession of up to 2oz (56.6g) of marijuana a petty offence that would not result in a criminal record. Cultivation of five or fewer plants on any premises would be permitted in Jamaica, where the drug has long been culturally entrenched but illegal.
The law paves the way for a licensing authority to be set up to deal with regulations on cultivation and distribution of marijuana for medical, scientific and therapeutic purposes.
Rastafarians can also legally use marijuana for religious purposes for the first time on the island where the spiritual movement was founded in the 1930s. Tourists prescribed medical marijuana abroad will be able to apply for permits at a cost authorising them to legally buy small amounts of “ganja”, as it is known locally.
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