Ganja Reforms Put Jamaica Ahead Of Other Countries

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, says the ganja reforms, enacted earlier this year, are historic and revolutionary, and have placed Jamaica ahead of many other countries globally.
  • Minister McNeill was speaking at the Beckley Foundation Conference on Jamaica’s Cannabis Reforms and Regulations on Friday, November 13, at the Swept Away Resort in Negril, Westmoreland.
  • The 'Ganja Law' or 'Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act 2015, which came into effect on April 15, makes possession of small quantities of marijuana (2 ounces or less) a non-arrestable, but ticketable offence that attracts no criminal record.

Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, says the ganja reforms, enacted earlier this year, are historic and revolutionary, and have placed Jamaica ahead of many other countries globally.

“In years to come, we will look back (with pride) at what has happened here in Jamaica and the changes that have taken (place with) how we treat cannabis. We are ahead of the curve. It has been revolutionary. We are among few countries in the world that have made these moves,” he said.

Minister McNeill was speaking at the Beckley Foundation Conference on Jamaica’s Cannabis Reforms and Regulations on Friday, November 13, at the Swept Away Resort in Negril, Westmoreland.

The ‘Ganja Law’ or ‘Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act 2015,  which came into effect on April 15, makes possession of small quantities of marijuana (2 ounces or less) a non-arrestable, but ticketable offence that attracts no criminal record.

It also puts in place, regulations for marijuana use by persons of the Rastafarian faith and for medical, therapeutic and scientific purposes, including development of a legal industry for industrial hemp and medical marijuana.

Dr. McNeill said he endorses expunging the criminal records of persons convicted for possession of small quantities of ganja, noting that such records have marred the future of many young persons.

“That, to me, is one of the most important changes in the legislation,” he said, noting that he is also pleased with the protection provided for one of the sacraments of the Rastafarian religion.

Dr. McNeill said development of the marijuana industry also offers tremendous economic benefits “and as we move along, these benefits will come to pass.”

The Government, he pointed out, is seeking to ensure that the benefits will redound to a wide cross section of Jamaicans, noting that work towards this end had already started in the form of community consultations.

Dr. McNeill said the efforts of the Beckley Foundation and the discussions during the conference will go towards shaping the policy being undertaken by the Ministry of Justice.

He commended Justice Minister, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding, in leading the process and protecting the interest of Jamaica.

“He took (reform and regulation) in hand and I think that the methodology that he has used is one that will be (replicated) by many other countries when they want to treat with this very same thing,” he said.

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