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  • Foreign Affairs Minister, Senator the Hon. A.J. Nicholson, says the proposed changes to the Dangerous Drugs Act are fully in keeping with all of Jamaica’s existing international obligations.
  • He was addressing members of the diplomatic corps on February 10 at the University of the West Indies’ (UWI) Regional Headquarters in St. Andrew, as part of Diplomatic Week 2015 activities.
  • Last week, the Bill to amend the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act 2015 was passed in the Upper House with five amendments.

Foreign Affairs Minister, Senator the Hon. A.J. Nicholson, says the proposed changes to the Dangerous Drugs Act are fully in keeping with all of Jamaica’s existing international obligations.

He was addressing members of the diplomatic corps on February 10 at the University of the West Indies’ (UWI) Regional Headquarters in St. Andrew, as part of Diplomatic Week 2015 activities.

Last week, the Bill to amend the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act 2015 was passed in the Upper House with five amendments.

The amendments provide for the decriminalisation of ganja for medicinal, religious, scientific and therapeutic purposes.  The Bill also seeks to make the possession of two ounces or less of ganja a non-arrestable but ticketable infraction, attracting a fine payable outside of the court, but not resulting in the possessor obtaining criminal record.

Mr. Nicholson said the proposed changes in Jamaica’s legal regime are in recognition of the fact that the complete prohibition of the use of and possession of ganja is unduly repressive.

“The existing policy resulted in damage to the lives of many persons without the attendant decrease in the use of the drug,” he said.

Mr. Nicholson noted that reforms in Europe, compelling research on the benefits of medical marijuana, and a more flexible approach adopted in a number of countries, inspired the Government of Jamaica to take a measured approach to reform.

“This approach is fully in keeping with all existing international obligations, specifically all three narcotics related treaties to which Jamaica is a party,” he said.

The Minister pledged that the new regime will be strictly regulated, as there is no intention to encourage an increase in the illicit transshipment of ganja beyond the country’s borders.

He said Jamaica remains fully committed to collaborating in combating the illegal transshipment of drugs.

“The goal of the new regime is to develop a legal, well-regulated industry, which can further the economic development of the country,” he said.

Diplomatic Week 2015 is being observed from February 8 to 13 under the theme: ‘Building Partnerships for Sustainable Development’.

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