Statement by Minister of Justice on Reforms to the Laws Relating to Ganja

Photo: JIS Photographer Minister of Justice and Government Senator, Hon. Mark Golding.

Story Highlights

  • On Monday 2nd June, Cabinet approved certain changes to the law relating to ganja.
  • These relate to the possession of small quantities of ganja for personal use, the smoking of ganja in private places and the use of ganja for medical/medicinal purposes.
  • Approval has been given also to a proposal for the decriminalization of the use of ganja for religious purposes.

On Monday 2nd June, Cabinet approved certain changes to the law relating to ganja. These relate to the possession of small quantities of ganja for personal use, the smoking of ganja in private places and the use of ganja for medical/medicinal purposes.

Approval has been given also to a proposal for the decriminalization of the use of ganja for religious purposes. These changes have been under consideration for some time, but the necessary internal consultations and consequential refinements had to be undertaken before submission in April for Cabinet’s consideration.

The changes to the law contemplated are not novel.

he decriminalization of ganja in Jamaica has been the subject of considerable study and recommendations over the years. A 1977 Joint Select Committee of Parliament which reviewed ganja use and legislation, stopped short of recommending its legalization but recommended that there was a substantial case for decriminalization for personal/private use, with no penalty for quantities up to two (2) ounces.  It also recommended that the prescription of marijuana for medicinal use should be lawful.

Over twenty years later the National Commission on Ganja, referred to as the Chevannes Commission, conducted an all-encompassing review of the subject and submitted its final report in August 2001, recommending, inter alia, the decriminalization of the private use of small quantities of ganja by adults, the decriminalization of ganja for use as a sacrament for religious purposes, the implementation of a public education to discourage use by young persons mainly, and the establishment of a Cannabis Research Agency, in collaboration with other countries, to coordinate research into all aspects of ganja. The Chevannes Report was reviewed and its recommendations endorsed by a 2003 Joint Select Committee of Parliament…READ MORE

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