Jamaica

Jamaica: cabinet introduces ganja legalization bill

Posted on January 23rd, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

CaribbeanThe Jamaican cabinet on Jan. 19 approved a bill to decriminalize possession of personal quantities of ganja (as the stuff is endearingly called in Jamaica's legal code). Beyond that, the bill would establish a Cannabis Licensing Authority to oversee cultivation, sale and distribution for medical, spiritual and industrial purposes. Possession of two ounces or less would be a ticketable infraction, leaving no criminal record. While public use would remain banned, the law would establish both a medicinal and religious defense, as well as permiting licensed cultivation of industrial hemp. The bill, officially the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act of 2015, now goes to the Senate for approval. Justice Minister Mark Golding expressed his optimism that the Lower House will move to pass the proposed statute following approval by the Senate.

2014: international drug war round-up

earth2014 witnessed considerable fraying of the international Drug War consensus—but the horrific violence that finally sparked this long-overdue reckoning continued to take its grim toll. On the upside, Uruguay regsitered its first cannabis clubs, and Jamaica is now studying a decrim initiative. In a very hopeful sign, regional bodies in the Caribbean and West Africa are following suit with studies of potential decrim or legalization. And signs of the failure of the prohibitionist model kept mounting. For a second consecutive year, opium cultivation in Afghanistan broke all previous records—despite some $7 billion spent by the US to combat Afghan opium over the past decade. Hashish busts at sea—especially the Persian Gulf and Mediterranean—also soared. Saudi Arabia went on a beheading spree, targeting drug convicts (as well as those found guilty of adultery, "sorcery" and other such wackery). ISIS (whose beheadings somehow sparked far greater media outrage) started eradicating the cannabis fileds of northern Syria, after the Syrian civil war had sparked a regional hashish boom, with a profusion of militias needing narco-profits to fund their insurgencies. The same cycle that Afghanistan saw with both hashish and opium when the Taliban was in power before 9-11.

Coming soon: Marley Natural brand cannabis

Posted on November 20th, 2014 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , , , .

Bob MarleyReaction continues to mount to news that Bob Marley's name is to be further immortalized as a cannabis brand—not just a strain, but an actual brand name. Privateer Holdings, a Seattle-based private equity firm that invests in the cannabis industry, has struck a deal with the estate of the late reggae superstar to launch a global marijuana brand, Financial Times reports. The firm's Marley Natural subsidiary will start marketing its line next year, including "heirloom Jamaican cannabis strains," cannabis-infused skin creams and lip balms, and accessories such as vaporizers and pipes "based on those that Bob preferred." (Oh? Did Bob vape? Really?) Privateer CEO Brendan Kennedy said he is interested in markets including the Netherlands, Uruguay, Canada, Spain and Israel. 

International manhunt after Haiti prison break

Posted on August 13th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

HaitiOfficials in Haiti on Aug. 12 announced that police have re-captured Clifford Brandt, a disgraced businessman who seems to have been the intended beneficiary of an armed prison break two days earlier. Brandt was reportedly taken at a town on Haiti's border with the Dominican Republic. In the audacious raid on Haiti's main Croix-des-Bouquets prison, gunmen attacked the facility from within and without, seemingly allowing the entire population of inmates to escape—more than 800. But Brandt, a scion of one of Haiti's most prominent families, is believed to have organized the attack. Brandt had been imprisoned since 2012 on charges of kidnapping at least two children. Two guards suffered bullet wounds in the prison shoot-out. Haitian officials have alerted authorities in the Dominican Republic and Jamaica to help in hunting down the escapees, who may have fled abroad. Some reports indicated Brandt was actually intercepted by the Dominican army as he tried to cross the border at Cornillon/Grand Bois, and then turned over to Haitian authorities.

Jamaica moves closer to ganja decrim

Posted on June 17th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

CaribbeanFollowing months of speculation, Jamaica's Justice Minister Mark Golding on June 15 announced that Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and her cabinet have approved changes to the Dangerous Drugs Act, decriminalizing "small quantities of ganja for personal use." Under the amended law, possession of up to 57 grams (2 ounces) would become an infraction, resulting only in a fine. Failure to pay the fine within 30 days would be a minor offense, punishable by a court order of community service. "Too many of our young people have ended up with criminal convictions after being caught with a spliff, something that has affected their ability to do things like get jobs and get visas to travel overseas," Golding said in his statement. Hearteningly, the law would be retroative, with a measure to expunge the criminal records of those convicted of personal possession. Another proposed measure would decriminalize ganja possession for religious or therapeutic purposes—leaving unclear what the permissible quantity would be in such cases. The cabinet is expected to submit the proposed changes to parliament in the coming weeks.

Jamaica to decriminalize ganja 'this year'?

Posted on March 8th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

CaribbeanThere has been mounting speculation in recent months that Jamaica is really about to finally decriminalize ganja (as it is ubiquitously called there, even in official circles). But now there has been something approaching official confirmation. A March 6 report on MercoPress news service cites a statement from Dealana Seiveright, leader of the Caribbean nation's Cannabis Commercial and Medicinal Research Taskforce (CCMRT), in turn quoting a statement from Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Minister Phillip Paulwell, who assured that "ganja will be decriminalized in Jamaica this year and emphasized that Jamaica cannot be allowed to be left behind on the issue."  Seiveright added: "He also reiterated the multiple economic, social and cultural benefits that Jamaica stands to gain if the laws are adjusted sooner rather than later."

Jamaica: cabinet prepares legalization initiative

Posted on October 25th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

CaribbeanJamaica's Justice Minister Mark Golding says his office is preparing an initiative to legalize cannabis in the island nation—pointing to the successful state initiatives in the US, traditionally the chief opponent of such efforts by Caribbean countries. "The Ministry of Justice is far advanced in developing a Cabinet submission with a view to reforming the laws relating to ganja," Golding told Jamaica's The Gleaner Oct. 7. "We have been working on that for some time now, and it's at an advanced stage, so Cabinet will get the opportunity to consider our recommendation and we will see whether the Cabinet is minded to move forward in the way that we have proposed."

Jamaica: shock in Kingston as Dudus Coke cuts deal

Posted on September 4th, 2011 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

CaribbeanResidents of Kington's poor district of Tivoli Gardens reacted with shock and disbelief to the news that extradited accused drug kingpin Christopher "Dudus" Coke arranged a plea bargain this week at Federal District Court in Manhattan. "I'm devastated," one anonymous member of the Coke clan told the Jamaica Gleaner. Scores were killed in days of street-fighting in the district last year as police and army troops were deployed to hunt down Coke for extradition to the US.

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