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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."

Last year, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nations agreed to discuss the issue of at least decriminalizing medical marijuana at their inter-sessional summit, to convene in St. Vincent and the Grenadines later this month. St. Vincent Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves wrote to his fellow regional leaders calling for a "reasoned debate" on the question. But regional leaders, who met in Trinidad last September, only agreed at that time to have the Guyana-based CARICOM Secretariat conduct further research on the legal and health implications of medical marijuana.

This is a less than encourgaing response, given that Jamaican governments have long ignored the recommendations of their own appointed expert panels on the decrim question. The CCMRT, the latest such effort, includes representatives of the Ganja Law Reform Coalition and the National Alliance for the Legalization of Ganja. Judging by the relentless slew of reactionary anti-ganja editorials and letters in the Jamaica Observer and the Jamaica Gleaner, there will still be resistance to any actual decrim initiative.

Cross-post to High Times

 

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