• Jamaica

    Overview of drug policy, drug law and legislative trends in Jamaica

    jamaica-flagAs an island that is viewed as the mecca of cannabis culture, many are surprised to learn that Jamaica is only now in the midst of reforming its cannabis laws. The cultivation, selling, and consumption of cannabis as all other drugs have been illegal since 1913. However, following a unanimous symbolic vote in the Jamaican House of Representatives last October, the Jamaican government announced in June 2014 that it would decriminalise marijuana possession for personal consumption and religious/medical use by the end of the year. In January 2015, Justice minister Mark Golding introduced a Bill that in addittion to decriminalizing the possession of ganja up to two ounces, it would establish a cannabis licensing authority to regulate cultivation, sale and distribution for medical, scientific and therapeutic purposes. The Bill passed both in Senate and House of Representatives on February 2015.

    For the latest news on drug law reform in Jamaica click here.

  • The facts about ganja in Jamaica

    Each household is allowed to legally grow no more than five ganja plants on its premises
    Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
    Sunday, January 21, 2018

    When the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act 2015 came into effect on April 15, 2015, new provisions were put in place regarding the possession and smoking of ganja, use of ganja by persons of the Rastafarian faith, and use of ganja for medical, therapeutic and scientific purposes. Possession of two ounces or less of ganja is no longer an offence for which one can be arrested, charged and tried in court, and it will not result in a criminal record. The police may issue a ticket to a person in possession of two ounces or less of ganja, similar to a traffic ticket, and the person would have 30 days to pay the sum of $500 (US$4) at any tax office. (See also: Call for Caricom to give ganja green light)

  • 2015 the Year of Ganja in Jamaica

    Will 2016 be the year for Ganja internationally, as we move towards the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) 2016?
    Vicki Hanson
    Friday, January 29, 2016

    jamaica-cannabis-leafThe issue of ganja played very prominently in Jamaica in 2015 with some advocates trumpeting the dawn of a “new green golden kingdom”, while some opponents predicting the doom of our youths to the “green demon”. However, a sober analysis of the situation will reveal that even though there were indeed some victories in relation to how we treat with ganja in Jamaica, there is still a lot more to achieve and pitfalls to be mindful of in relation to our policy on establishing a fully legally regulated ganja industry.

  • Governor General gives assent, 'Ganja law' now in effect

    The Act also makes special provisions for people of the Rastafarian Faith and visitors to the island who intend to use medical marijuana
    Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
    Tuesday, March 31, 2015

    Governor General Sir Patrick Allen has given his assent to the Bill amending the Dangerous Drugs Act, making possession of two or less ounces of ganja a ticketable offence. The House passed the Bill on February 24, 2015, following which it was expected to be signed into law about a week later. During the month-long wait, there was speculation among some ganja advocates that GG Allen, a member of the Seventh-Day Adventist faith, might have been having difficulties giving his assent to the amendments to the Dangerous Drugs Act. The Ministry of Justice has prepared a fact sheet on the Act.

  • Senate passes ganja law

    The bill will be debated by members of the House of Representatives in the new parliamentary year
    The Gleaner (Jamaica)
    Saturday, February 7, 2015

    The Senate debated for nearly five hours about the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act, 2015, which was later passed with five amendments. The legislation makes the possession of two ounces, or less, of ganja a non-arrestable, but ticketable, offence attracting a fixed monetary penalty. It also will allow for a scheme of licences, permits, and other authorisations which enable the establishment of a lawful, regulated industry for ganja for medical, therapeutic and scientific purposes. (See also: Senate gives nod to ganja Bill)

  • Jamaica poised to relax cannabis laws

    Several restrictions on 'ganja' use could go up in smoke as island’s politicians back bill to establish licensing authority
    The Guardian (UK)
    Thursday, January 22, 2015

    The cabinet has approved a bill that would decriminalise possession of small amounts of cannabis and pave the way for a legal medical marijuana industry in Jamaica. Justice minister Mark Golding said he expected to introduce the legislation in the Senate. Debate could start this month in the country where "ganja" has long been culturally entrenched but illegal. The bill establishes a cannabis licensing authority to regulate cultivation, sale and distribution for medical, scientific and therapeutic purposes. (See: Statement by minister of Justice on the Dangerous Drugs (amendment) Bill)

  • Law to be amended to facilitate medical ganja industry

    Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
    Tuesday, September 30, 2014

    Mark-Golding_JamaicaThe Government of Jamaica has drafted legislation to amend the Dangerous Drugs Act as it moves to establish medical ganja and industrial hemp industries, where the cultivation and other activities involved in the production and supply of the plants will be legal under a controlled regime. Minister of Justice Senator Mark Golding emphasized that the objective is to lay the foundations for the establishment of regulatory regimes to govern the cultivation and use of ganja for medical and scientific purposes, as well as non-medical industrial hemp.