Jamaica Moving Ahead with the Decriminalisation of Cannabis

According to Justice Minister Mark Golding, Jamaica’s Cabinet is moving forward with a plan to decriminalise cannabis by the end of 2014. The possibility of decriminalisation first gained political traction in the late 1990s, with the formation of the Ganja Commission, headed by the late Barry Cheveannes. At the time US opposition led to the proposal being shelved. Since then the US has changed position, two states – Colorado and Washington – have legalised cannabis and many more states have approved medical marijuana. The Jamaican Cabinet feels that it is in a far stronger position to withstand external pressure and is putting the bill before the legislature. Decriminalisation has the support of Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller who is concerned about petty cannabis offences clogging up the judiciary and blighting the prospects of offenders. The government is therefore also drafting legislation to expunge the records of people previously convicted for cannabis possession.

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