In Jamaica on 01/23/15 a bill to amend the dangerous drugs act was laid on the table by their minister of justice senator Mark Golding. This amendment was passed only weeks later on 02/06/15, a date in which I’d like to think deliberately passed it on because its Bob Marley’s birthday. It’s no secret Bob Marley was against the political oppression of Marijuana, and this amendment takes the country one step closer to decriminalizing the herb.
The amendment reduces the penalties of 2 ounces or less of cannabis to only a ticket and no mark on the criminal record, it also allows for the cultivation of up to five plants. Under the current law possession of cannabis can lead to not only a fine but also up to five years of prison time. The act of smoking marijuana for spiritual purposes is now protected under the amendment, which is great news for Rastafarians. Also accredited institutions can perform scientific research on the plant as well as medical cannabis can be prescribed by health professionals for different illnesses.
The bill also allocated provisions for the creation of a cannabis licensing authority to regulate medicinal marijuana and hemp industries in Jamaica.
Marijuana still remains a public health concern for government officials but those that still oppose these steps have resigned to the fact that this bill was a long time coming and even though the bill has yet to get past the countries House of Representatives it is expected to pass.