JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Steps are now being undertaken by the National Security Ministry to design special tickets to assist members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) with enforcing the country’s legislation dealing with dangerous drugs.
  • Under the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act of 2015, the tickets are to be issued for possession of less than two ounces of marijuana as well as for smoking marijuana.
  • Failure to pay the fine will result in the offender attending the Petty Sessions Court, where he or she can be ordered to do community service, or in rare cases where community service is unavailable, pay a fine of $2,000.

Steps are now being undertaken by the National Security Ministry to design special tickets to assist members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) with enforcing the country’s legislation dealing with dangerous drugs.

This was stated by Chief Technical Director (CTD) in the Ministry, Mrs. Karen Clarke Davis, at a ceremony to release the preliminary results of the 2016 National Drug Prevalence Survey, at Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in Kingston, today (November 15).

Mrs. Clarke Davis noted that under the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act of 2015, the tickets are to be issued for possession of less than two ounces of marijuana as well as for smoking marijuana.

The law states that the police may issue a ticket to a person found in possession of the substance, who will then have 30 days to pay $500 at any Tax Office.

Failure to pay the fine will result in the offender attending the Petty Sessions Court, where he or she can be ordered to do community service, or in rare cases where community service is unavailable, pay a fine of $2,000.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Clarke Davis indicated that the Ministry recently completed the revised draft of a Drug Prevention and Control Master Plan for 2016 to 2020, which is being reviewed internally.

The plan will then be circulated to key stakeholders for indepth analysis and comments.

The purpose of the plan is to address the issues related to the illicit drug trade, drug trafficking, international criminal networks and domestic drug criminal activities that have a direct impact on crime and violence in the society.

“It also treats with modification of the legal framework to facilitate effective law enforcement and border security,” said Mrs. Clarke Davis, who argued that the plan takes a balanced approach in comparison to others over the years.

“The previous plans dealt with supply control. This plan takes into consideration demand control. It is a multidisciplinary approach seeking to coordinate shared responsiveness to bring about a decrease in the supply and availability of illegal drugs,” said Mrs.  Clarke Davis.

Among the findings of the 2016 Drug Prevalence Survey that targeted persons from 12 to 65 years of age, is that alcohol usage is the most common among males, followed by ganja and tobacco.

The parishes of St. Ann and Westmoreland show the highest levels of alcohol usage, while Kingston and St. Andrew had the highest use of marijuana followed by Westmoreland.

Another finding showed that more than 70 per cent of the population has easy access to ganja.

The survey was funded by the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission, an agency of the Organization of American States (OAS).

Jamaica’s Country Representative to the OAS, Jeanelle van GlaanenWeygel, said the survey should provide the Government with solid data on the prevalence of drug use in the country and the overall perceptions from the general population.

The information, she said, should provide key stakeholders with a situational analysis on the drug problem in Jamaica, which will then inform policy development and implementation.