Jamaica is to decriminalise small amounts of pot and establish a licensing agency to regulate a lawful medical marijuana industry on the Caribbean island.
After several hours of debate, MPs in the lower house gave final passage to drug law amendments that make possession of up to 2oz of marijuana a petty offence that would not result in a criminal record.
Cultivation of five or fewer plants on any premises would be permitted in Jamaica, where the drug is culturally entrenched, but illegal.
The law paves the way for a licensing authority to oversee cultivation and distribution of marijuana for medical, scientific and therapeutic purposes. Rastafarians can also use marijuana for religious purposes for the first time on the tropical island, where the spiritual movement was founded in the 1930s.
And tourists who are prescribed medical marijuana abroad will be able to apply for permits at a cost authorising them to legally buy small amounts of Jamaican weed, or “ganja” as it is known locally.
• So marijuana possession is decriminalised in Jamaica — you mean it wasn’t already? writes Ben Lowry
I have visited 50+ countries but nowhere else where dope is so prevalent. Jamaica is wonderful, but most tourists who go there miss its essence by flying straight into the west coast resorts, where I was at a wedding. I flew to Kingston and took a bus across the island. If (like me) you dislike the smell of weed, you won’t be able to escape it for long in Jamaica.