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  • Cabinet is expected to receive a submission from Justice Minister, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding, on proposed amendments to the Criminal Records (Rehabilitation of Offenders) Act, within the next two weeks.
  • The amendments are intended to revise the Act to facilitate the removal of criminal records against the names of persons convicted for possession of, or smoking small quantities of ganja.
  • The amendments form part of proposed changes to existing laws relating to illegal possession of ganja, as outlined under the Dangerous Drugs Act.

Cabinet is expected to receive a submission from Justice Minister, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding, on proposed amendments to the Criminal Records (Rehabilitation of Offenders) Act, within the next two weeks.

The amendments are intended to revise the Act to facilitate the removal of criminal records against the names of persons convicted for possession of, or smoking small quantities of ganja.

The amendments form part of proposed changes to existing laws relating to illegal possession of ganja, as outlined under the Dangerous Drugs Act. The proposed Cabinet-approved changes will see ganja being decriminalized to enable its usage for medicinal/medical and religious purposes, and personal use.

Addressing journalists at Thursday’s (June 12) media briefing at Jamaica House, Senator Golding said the Bill, containing amendments to the Criminal Records (Rehabilitation of Offenders) Act, was reviewed by the Legislation Committee on Wednesday (June 11), ahead of its submission to Cabinet.

Minister Golding anticipates that the document will be tabled in Parliament, before the summer recess in July, following Cabinet’s deliberations. It is also expected that the Bill will be passed by the end of September.

“(So) anybody who has a conviction for a small quantity of ganja, as will be defined in the legislation that will come to Cabinet shortly, or smoking, will be entitled, once…the amendment is passed, to apply to the Criminal Records Board through the  Ministry of Justice, to have their conviction expunged. That Bill will also make consequential amendments to provide that, going forward, these minor ganja-related offences will not result in a criminal record,” he explained.

Senator Golding, however, did not provide a specific timeline for the tabling of the proposals.

“I am hoping that we will have a Bill this calendar year. We have a very (packed) legislative agenda already; but that (2014 Bill preparation and tabling) would be a personal target that I would be trying to work with,” he stated.