Member of Parliament for North East St. Elizabeth, Raymond Pryce, is calling for debate on the decriminalisation of marijuana (cannabis sativa) as well as a prescribed legal limit for possession.
“This Parliament should debate the practicality, as a human rights issue, the determination of a prescribed amount of cannabis sativa, at or below which there will be no criminal prosecution for possession for personal use,” Mr. Pryce said.
Mr. Pryce made the statement when he tabled the motion in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (January 22).
He noted that many of the country’s trading partners once held very strict and rigid views regarding the use of marijuana but stated that, “within the past decade many other jurisdictions have, by way of the ballot, legislation and or regulations, relaxed their positions on the possession and use of small quantities of the substance, to include decriminalisation and legalisation.”
Mr. Pryce said that each year many Jamaican youth are arrested and criminally prosecuted for possession of small quantities of marijuana for personal use.
He argued that this criminal record “haunts thousands of Jamaicans and their families preventing many from achieving careers goals at the personal and family levels.”
Mr. Pryce stated that research has shown that marijuana use has expanded significantly for social, religious and medicinal purposes.