Jamaica’s Cabinet has given official approval to a comprehensive proposal that would decriminalize the possession of small amounts of cannabis while also legalizing medical cannabis and establishing a medical cannabis industry, according to Justice Minister Mark Golding. The proposal is expected to be before the Senate by the end of the week.
According to Golding, the proposal would establish a “cannabis licensing authority” to deal with the various regulations required to cultivate, produce and distribute cannabis for medical, scientific and religious purposes. The measure would also remove criminal penalties for the possession of up to two ounces of cannabis, making it a simple ticket rather than an arrestable offense.
“We need to position ourselves to take advantage of the significant economic opportunities offered by this emerging industry,” says Golding.
The head of Jamaica’s Cannabis Commercial and Medicinal Research Taskforce, Delano Seiveright, says he expects the bill to be passed soon in Parliament, where Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller’s governing party holds a 2 to 1 majority.